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CDA: Jorden, Lutvak, and Roundtree

My friend Scott alerted me to the death of James Jorden, the creator of the Parterre opera queen zine, which morphed into parterre.com. Jorden was 69. I used to ravenously devour Parterre, it was such a limitless source of opera dish, opera gossip, opera trash talk, and serious opera criticism. I was on it every day, often numerous times a day. I stopped looking at it almost entirely when I started my own blog - - one has very little time for other blogs when you're doing your own.


My favorite Parterre moment was connected to the Alberto Vilar scandal. He was a businessman who pledged major donations to the Met Opera and other arts organizations but didn't quite deliver the cash. Here's how they put it on Wikipedia: "...he was tried and convicted in November 2008 on charges of money laundering, investment advisor fraud, securities fraud, mail and wire fraud. He was sentenced in February 2010 to nine years in prison and released in 2018."


Vilar was such an important donor at the Met that at one point they put his name along the front of the grand tier, gold letters saying ALBERTO VILAR GRAND TIER. Jorden wrote a Parterre article when Vilar got in trouble. The Met removed those letters from the grand tier and Jorden posted a doctored photo, where it instead says YOUR NAME HERE GRAND TIER. I am still laughing about that.


Here's a 1960 Palermo performance of *Macbeth* starring Leyla Gencer introduced by Jorden.



I just read on the NY Times that Steven Lutvak died at the age of 64. He's a friend of a friend who wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the musical *A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder,* the Tony winner for Best Musical in 2012. I saw that show twice, it was so delightful. Richard and I saw Lutvak in performance at some dreary little club sometime before the show hit Broadway. The hit of that club performance was a song he coyly calls "The Dinner Party" but should really be called "Bagel Makers To the Czar." Here's Ruth Fuerst performing it in a less dreary little club.





And I saw on the Today show that Richard Roundtree just died at the age of 81. He will be forever remembered as John Shaft in 1971's *Shaft.* Fantastic movie. I'm talkin' 'bout Shaft! Roundtree's super cool performance is one of the reasons it still works.




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