Greg Freed is an opera fan who grew up listening to Met broadcasts in Kentucky and later attended as many performances as possible at Austin Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and, for 10 years, the Metropolitan, where he occasionally reviewed under the name Maury D’Annato. He currently lives in Oakland, and was Parterre’s Bay Area critic (under his own name) for two seasons. His primary vocation is social work, and as such, has spent a decade in sentencing advocacy. Greg loves live recordings of the singers of today and those of yesteryear, with special regard for the contralto Ewa Podles.
There’s a moment early in the film Volver where Almodovar reveals Carmen Maura, his glamorous star of yesteryear, done up as an unkempt old lady, and though it’s easy to google her and see that she’s doing fine in real life, the transformation is wrenchingly poignant. I thought of it last night at the War Memorial despite Karita Mattila’s failure to look a day older than she ever has, because I recall her Jenufas as if they were yesterday, and yet here we are. Batons have been passed. Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding and all that. Read more »
That little place just two hours from the city is on the list of things I shall never understand, like the plot of Parsifal. So there I was rushing back from the realm of very large bugs and a terrifying lack of restaurants, waiting to see if I would make it back and across the bay in time for a one o’clock curtain. For better or worse, I did. Read more »
Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) is opera on the grand scale with mellifluous arias and breathtaking duets that tell a tale of ancient Roman political machinations, adultery, and murder in which there is no true protagonist. This stunningly expressive music is performed by an all-star cast. Soprano Miah Persson, praised by The New York Times for her “sumptuous sound and elegant lyricism,” is joined by singers who have all won worldwide critical acclaim for their mastery of this beautiful repertoire. The Guardian wrote that “there are few performers better-versed in the music of Claudio Monteverdi than Rinaldo Alessandrini and the ensemble he founded 30 years ago, Concerto Italiano.” Alessandrini and company anchor a performance that promises to be one of the season’s most thrilling nights of opera.
It’s been a surprising season in San Francisco: lots of comings and goings, often serendipitous, and what looked on paper to be in the mid-range of “good enough” has instead been, on the whole, deeply satisfying. While next season’s slate of operas and stars prompted one local critic to pen the headline “San Francisco Opera announces end of reviewer’s interest in art form,” the summer season still promises some thrills. Read more »
Emilio Sagi’s production of The Barber of Seville is ungepotchket in the flesh.
Die Meistersinger is a bold stroke of programming, in a not particularly exciting way.
With a primary color, projection-heavy English-language Magic Flute that’s going to feel like a matinee whenever you see it, the SFO season has lived up to its initial promise.
Well that’s a terrible place to start a review, and it’s not quite fair to SFO’s Lucia di Lammermoor, but…
This is the tenth season of the Met’s HD broadcasts, not that I would know it.
Gala this; gala that; who knew rich people wore clothes so badly?