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Thread: La Kwan?

  1. #1

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    La Kwan?

    I have noticed lately the French adjective "La" in front of Kwans name on posts here - or is this part of her name? Have I missed something in the Kwaniacs world?


    PS - just curious.

  2. #2
    RED DOG45

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    Re: La Kwan?

    I was wondering the same thing.

    I know it is NOT part of MK's name but I think people just call her that.

  3. #3

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    Re: La Kwan?

    I am guilty of a lot of that. It is the French definite article which is used by fans to denote the emphasis on THE. therefore one gets THE Kwan (Michelle) and no other Kwan. It's just being playful.


  4. #4

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    Re: La Kwan?

    It seems like a "diva" thing. Not that MK acts like a diva, but that her fans see her as a diva (in the positive way, not the Jennifer Lopez way :lol: )... it's like "La Streisand" which I've heard before.

  5. #5

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    Re: La Kwan?

    I think Michelle is a diva in skating if not The Diva.

    She knows how adored she is and she believes she is all that. How could she not? She has some humility, tho. Losing will develop that trait.

    Streisand? Every bit the Diva. She's been a star 40 years, she sings, acts, writes, dances, directs, produces, has had georgeous men, a zillion records. there isn't anyone alive that has as much fame, success, money as she has.

    Maybe this is an idea for a thread, the top 10 divas in FS.

  6. #6
    RED DOG45

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    Re: La Kwan?

    I think Sasha would qualify to be more of a "diva" then MK would...but just My opinion...

  7. #7

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    Re: La Kwan?

    Michelle is a true diva inside.

  8. #8

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    What is a diva?

    Maybe there is no formal definition, but we all know one when we see one. I do not associate MK as a diva at all. It has nothing to do with her losses, she is just not that kind of a girl. Mk is in touch of reality, and reality is that her fans adore her, that does not make her a diva. Actually, IMHO what makes Michelle so attractive as a skater and person is that she knows her fans adore her, but that knowledge has never lead to entitled and inappropriate behavior.

    For a description of a diva, please bear with me, if you care to read a lengthy article:

    Battle survivor: bruised but unbowed

    November 8 2002

    When diva Kathleen Battle is displeased, she lets her index finger do the talking,
    writes Phillip McCarthy.

    It's a balmy summer night in the upstate New York town of Saratoga Springs, a resort that
    profitably combines thermal springs with horseracing and a seasonal arts festival. Outside
    a colonnaded theatre in a bucolic reserve, chipper ticket holders are arriving for a chamber
    performance featuring a legendary diva and a small ensemble. They're upbeat, at least,
    until they get to the door and see the sign saying the legend has cancelled.

    The legend is Kathleen Battle and the reactions say a lot about her decade-old status as
    the Scarlet Lady of Opera. Would-be concertgoers who merely know her name shrug and
    sigh in disappointment. Those who know her history mutter things like, "So what else is

    The show does go on in truncated form, anyway, minus the program's vocal bits. But the
    battle-scarred image of classical music's most controversial diva doesn't get much help
    from the maestro who tells the audience before things begin that illness is one thing but a
    cancellation 65 minutes before the curtain is quite another. Performers and audience bond
    across the footlights in the perceived slight they share. It's another "that woman" moment.

    It's been like this for eight years for Battle since she was fired by the tough-minded boss of
    the Metropolitan Opera, Joseph Volpe, for "unprofessional behaviour". In the mannered
    world of opera Volpe v Battle was the seismic equivalent of Kerr v Whitlam. And after this
    dismissal, opera managements around the world gleefully fell into line, forcing her off
    stages from London to San Francisco and ending her dulcet-voiced run of Zerlinas,
    Despinas and Paminas.

    Her diva antics were, if not catalogued in affidavit form, recycled with enough spin to make
    her seem like an amalgam of Streisand, Ross and Eminem. The litany had her reducing
    colleagues to tears with tantrums; refusing to rehearse with "no-name" conductors; refusing
    to speak to "underlings" and complaining if they made eye contact. When she left San
    Francisco one year, out came the "I Survived the Battle" T-shirts around the city's grand old
    opera house.

    In fairness to Battle, at 54 no longer the svelte little soubrette of the Mozart repertoire, she
    had already done a bigger gig in Saratoga Springs a day or two before her cancelled
    chamber performance. It was with the resident summer band, the Philadelphia Orchestra,
    and she belted out more vocally demanding arias than programmed for the recital. The
    reviewer in The Saratogian marvelled that the voice was "clear and pure, smack on pitch,
    and understated in delivery".

    Yet in image rehabilitation terms, Battle is probably her own worst enemy. She did have a
    genuine medical issue, a sinus infection, that was making her a bit woozy even the next
    day but any suggestion that the explanation be given or the issue raised was forbidden.

    "I think if you ask her about that she will terminate the interview," her agent, Michaela Kurz,
    said ominously. Kurz has been with Battle for years, through thick and thin, so she should
    know. So the maestro's particular spin on events remains the only official account.

    Battle hadn't done press for 12 years, according to her Australian promoter , Andrew Kay,
    so getting her to do a slew of interviews was something of a coup. Kay brought the diva to
    Australia in 1999 and apparently has her confidence. Her media wariness dates from a
    brutally detailed list of her slights, eccentricities and bad behaviour in Vanity Fair. But if we
    were hoping to get her side of the dismissal, we were as disappointed as the previous
    night's audience. "I think for more than half of my career I have refrained from talking to the
    media," she says. "There was no one single catalyst for that but I do know exactly when it
    was. And that's all I am going to say about it."

    Battle can banter charmingly about her musical tastes, sewing, shoes, faith, weather and
    travelling with her beloved nieces. Her vocal style might be holding up fine but she's a bit
    rusty on interview technique: it lurches from girlishness to imperiousness. And, actually, the
    high C of her conversational repertoire is not vocal at all: it's her well-manicured index
    finger. She lets her finger do the talking when she's displeased.

    At one point during our chat she caught me nervously clicking the top of my ball point pen. It
    was distracting and, without skipping a beat talking about liking bluegrass music, she
    pointed peevishly to it. She also insisted on her agent and the Australian promoter sitting
    nearby and, when the questioning strayed onto turf she felt disinclined to discuss, the index
    finger came up. It was a signal for one of them to interject: "Miss Battle doesn't really want
    to go into that."

    It happened first when, discussing differences between recital work and grand opera, I
    asked whether there were things about the opera world that she missed. Her smile froze,
    her eyes glazed and up went the finger. Before that we had danced around her repertoire.

    "I sing what I sing," she says. "And that's recitals and orchestra concerts. To appease - no,
    that's not the right word - let's say to satisfy any opera urgings that my public has, I'll put in
    an aria. I'm not sure whether I'll stick with the one I've chosen for Australia or not."

    Then she adds a little disingenuously: "But, you see, I've never sung in a fully staged opera
    in Australia so I don't know if people are missing hearing me sing an opera there or not."

    Still, if your career is going to head towards recital work - and most opera careers
    eventually do - having the title of Scarlet Lady of Lincoln Centre thrust upon you is probably
    not a bad calling card. She certainly didn't get fired, after all, because she couldn't sing.

    In marketing terms having a bit of attitude, in the sometimes ossified world of classical
    music, is a plus. For a wider audience it infuses Battle performances with an added frisson
    of soap opera.

    Will she show up? Will there be tantrums backstage? Will she behave?

    It's sort of like setting out for a Nina Simone concert where the drama starts long before the
    lights go down: it could be a bumpy night and you need to fasten your seat belt. You're part
    of the drama.

    These days it's movie stars, not opera singers, who are more likely to take on the
    deliciously naughty role of the diva. In that rather perverse sense, Battle is a throwback to
    the grand opera days of Callas, Tebaldi, Scotto and, for that matter, newly minted retiree

    In any case, being sin-binned from the opera stage has forced Battle into some innovative
    areas in recording. Even before the dismissal she had done baroque with trumpeter
    Wynton Marsalis and was into Spanish-flavoured music with guitarist Christopher

    These days she's doing things like making contributions to a Janet Jackson album and
    collaborating with Jesse Norman on a Vangelis electronica album, Mythodea.

    Having become a concert soloist she is a connoisseur of the form regardless of the
    musical style. She thinks Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross know how to
    put on a good show and recently saw Lyle Lovett perform. And, yes, Miss Battle admires
    Miss Ross.

    "Wynton and Christopher were really great experiences for me because they are both very
    gifted artists," she says. "And the fact that on each album we did some spirituals actually
    showed me a way to integrate that sort of music into what I do. As far as the others are
    concerned I think as a performer I have to be influenced by the way these people work. It's
    nothing I can put my finger on; it's highly nuanced. But look at Luther; he works so hard."

    Part of Battle's diva-allure was her glamour: an aristocratic face, elaborate hair and
    make-up and, in recital, elaborate gowns usually with long trains. When she recorded an all
    star version of Handel's Semele in 1993 - with Marilyn Horne, Samuel Ramey and Sylvia
    McNair - Deutsche Grammophon used only her picture on the cover: sprawled out on a
    chaise with train spilling along the side of the CD box and across the back cover.

    I also remember seeing her come out of the Met one night after a triumphant Don
    Giovanni, a slinky figure with her hair in a tightly coiled bun and wearing a red mini-skirt so
    tight it looked like hotpants. The crowd went nuts. She doesn't quite look like that now: the
    frame is fuller, the face is puffier. And if her Australian promoters were able to get her to
    consent to do some interviews, they weren't able to get her to pose for new pictures. The
    idea of an opera diva being so much of a diva that even the world's most indulgent and
    cosseting house finally says "enough" is so delicious that, eight years on, you start to
    wonder whether all the stories of Battle's skittishness have not become a sort of urban

    Yet interestingly enough, the stories from that time continue to dribble out. The latest came
    earlier in the year in a book by a 15-year veteran of the Met's press office, Johanna
    Fiedler, who also happens to be the daughter of the late conductor of the Boston Pops,
    Arthur Fiedler. The book, Molto Agitato, subtitled "The Mayhem Behind the Music at the
    Metropolitan Opera", is a dishy and anecdote-laden history of the 120-year old institution.

    She mentions an incident a couple of years before Battle's final dismissal, when her diva
    turns were turning knuckles increasingly white around the company, during a triumphant
    tour of Japan involving a fairly even-tempered Met regular, Carol Vaness, and Battle.

    "When the applause died away and the curtain came down for the last time the singers
    hugged one another, tired yet exuberant after the ovation," Fiedler wrote.

    "Conductor James Levine stood talking to soprano Kathleen Battle as Vaness
    approached. 'Kathy,' she said, in a cold, firm voice. 'I want you to know that I've instructed
    my manager I will never sing with you again. You are the most horrible colleague that I have
    encountered in my whole career ..."

    Kathleen Battle will give a recital at the Sydney Opera House on November 14.

  9. #9

    0 Not allowed!

    Re: La Kwan?

    Red Dog45

    I disagree.

    In no way is Sasha a diva - she has to first earn her stripes and that will take time.

    Sasha is a gorgeous skater; she definitly has tremendous qualities that separate her from most skaters, but give her another five years and then, perhaps, she can be classified as a diva.


  10. #10

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    I remember a cute MK story

    I think some students at UCLA run into were in awe. They asked, "OMG are you Michelle Kwan?"

    MK smiled and said, "No, not Michelle Kwan, she is ugly!!"

    I think Michelle is in touch with reality, she knows she is adored, but she has never acted in an entitled manner, i.e. she behaves like she does not know.

  11. #11
    RED DOG45

    0 Not allowed!

    Re: I remember a cute MK story

    That's really cool...I think I'd do that too...

    If you'll allow me to get off topic for a while, let me tell you something:

    I take around a minidisc player to listen to my tunes. If you don't know what a minidisc is, it is a type of disk with a small CD in a protective might have heard of it before, but anyway, let me continue. I bought a portable minidisc player a few years ago, and whenever I took it out, people would look at it and go, "IS that an MP3 player?" and the same ol' everytime, I'd say no and give them a lengthy 15 min. explanation of what a minidisc is. As you can imagine, this got old after a while. EVERYONE asks if it's an MP3 player, and I would go no, it isn''s a minidisc player. And they'd say, Oh I've heard of it or What is that? For the latter I'd give them an explanation again.

    However, one day, I got really sick of people asking me or telling me it's an MP3 player, so one day I took it out and someone else asked and I just said Yes it's an MP3 player. Just so I don't have to explain what an MD is whenever people ask now "is that an MP3 player?" I just say "Yes." BTW Minidisc and MP3 are <strong>very</strong> different.

    I know it's off topic, but see a connection? I'd bet she doesn't bother saying she's Michelle because she'd be bombarded with comments and people wanting autographs, least that might be one of the reasons. Plus she might get a kick out of it...I know I do when people go off thinking my minidisc is an MP3 player...

  12. #12

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    Divas on Ice

    Well, most of the top FS divas will be on Katt Witt's special. All the top ladies are Divas. I agree Michelle is a less demanding Diva than some. Maria B seems very Diva like. Sasha, who is a great skater, will someday be a very big Diva, I think.

    Elta, I know that there are no bigger Divas than in the Opera world, but sadly, I am not much of an Opera fan. I always liked Beverly Sills because she seemed the most approachable, and had gone through difficult things. Our pop divas are now limitless. I don't speak Italian or German, and thus, it's nice to appreciate the trained voices and the symphony, but being clueless about the words...I just can't get into Opera, at least on TV.

    I love classical music, ballet, all dance, theatre, musical theatre, theatre of the absurd, fine art, fine jewelry, fine wine everything but opera.
    I have champagne tastes and a beer budget. So, I hope you don't think ill of me as I am not yet, at least a fan or the Opera. I did love "Phantom of.........." Does that count?

    Michelle gets special treatment on the COI tour. Did you hear the story of one poster on this or some website last year? Michelle didn't want to sign autographs, and was thus led off by COI security. Sarah was annoyed and said out loud as she signed a zillion, "It must be nice to be someone important around here." and she was of course by then the owner of Oly Gold.

    They are all Divas, the top women, and I agree, Michelle's behavior is very good. Last year Kat Witt and her cast talked about it, and all these women "divas," they seemed to think it was a "special thing". Yuka laughed about it, but I'll bet she's a quiet Diva, too..

    I am told that the nicest skater to fans is Dan Hollander.
    And that's because he's not a "superstar" skater, though his COI performance last year was the best of the night when I saw them. (Sarah, Irina, Alexei didn't come to my city--so disappointing.) Michelle did FOG well, but it was so brief, and then she was gone, alas.

  13. #13

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    Re: Divas on Ice

    testing my signature

  14. #14
    sk8ing lady2001

    0 Not allowed!

    Re: Divas on Ice

    Your signature looks good, I think.

  15. #15

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    Re: Divas on Ice

    La Kwan.... what a sexy, beautiful, romantic, and professional name!!!!!

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