The Hänsel und Gretel discussions over the holidays plunged me down a YouTube rabbit hole, and while I was grubbing around down there I saw an amount of directorial Fail at one particular point that was surprising in such a reliable old warhorse. Read more »
After Heart of a Soldier, The Perfect American, The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, et al., the premiere of Theodore Morrison’s Oscar in Santa Fe last Saturday came as a welcome relief. Here for once was a real opera—not a would-be Sondheim musical, not a mere play-set-to-music, not a strong musical composition undermined by a flabby text, but a work in which words and music really interact and fill each other out in theatrically effective ways. It’s not without its flaws, but it still made for an extremely satisfying evening. Read more »
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is first among equals in a spectacular cast when she sings the title role of Ariodante in this season’s installment of Carnegie Hall’s critically acclaimed cycle of Handel’s operas in concert. A brilliantly melodic work, the opera features outstanding arias for each of the principal singers, including Ariodante’s melancholy “Scherza infida” and show-stopping “Doppo note.” Harry Bicket and The English Concert bring authentic Handelian brilliance to this marvelous opera. (Photo: Simon Pauly) Get tickets. Read more »
Reactions to the Zambello Ring may have been mixed, but the response to the Parterrian meet-ups was roaringly positive, as shown by the massive turnout for the last pre-Götterdämmerung brunch. So here (well, actually, not here, but rather after the jump) are the faces behind some of the monikers. Read more »
Here goes with the End of the Gods and the End of these Ring reviews: Götterdämmerung was more of a mixed bag than the other operas, but still left a powerful impression. This was where Zambello’s choice to steer clear of heavy spectacle was most evident to me. The cost in grandeur was offset by an absence of dumb bombast and a gain in intimacy and character definition. I don’t know how well that last factor would hold up in a revival director’s hands, but on the whole she made the approach pay off handsomely.
JumpingClappingMan deserves a long, loud round of applause for organizing the first gathering of Parterre’s SF Chapter (artist’s conception of the scale of the event pictured above). The highlight of the afternoon was our host’s heart-rending, toe-tapping, gut-wrenching account of “Signore ascolta,” soon to be a major motion picture thanks to Chang‘s Zeffirelli-scale direction and camera work. Wenarto, look to your laurels!