14 Nov 2005
Diva in a Verismo Rarity, Chewing Imaginary Scenery
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
By BERNARD HOLLAND [NY Times, 14 November 2005]
"Zazà" is a lesser known but not a lesser Leoncavallo opera. Toscanini conducted the premiere in 1900, but the piece did not arrive in New York until 1920. The soprano Geraldine Farrar quickly commandeered the title role. The Metropolitan Opera gave it some 20 performances in the next three seasons; and when Farrar said goodbye to the part in 1922, "Zazà" left New York with her.