Cher Public

John Masko

John Masko, a native of the Providence, RI area, is an orchestral conducting master’s student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During his undergraduate years at Yale College, John was active in student opera both as a music director and vocal coach, working on productions of Die Fledermaus, Dido and Aeneas, Castor et Pollux, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. After he graduated with a double major in history and music in 2014, John’s diverse interests led him to a two-year international politics research and writing position at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, while he simultaneously studied the art of conducting. He is winner of the 2016 Rubin Institute Audience Review Prize for music criticism.



Golden wreck

I really wished to avoid joining the pig pile of derision that has fallen on SF Opera’s premiere of John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West. And I think, in a sense, that I can. Given the libretto that it had to work with, both John Adams’ composition and the SF Opera’s production did about as much as humanly possible to rescue this train-wreck of a dramatic piece from itself. But, unfortunately, they came up slightly short.  Read more »

The pleasure of her company

It is not easy for an opera company to follow a spectacular production of La Traviata with Massenet’s Manon.  Read more »

As time goes on, I realize just what you mean to me

There is a slight chill in the air during the final minutes of La Traviata. Onstage stand a huddled group of people, brought together by death, all pretense forgotten as they offer themselves selflessly to one another. All the barriers that divided them a few weeks prior—guilt over a life of disrepute, a thirst for honor and respectability, the drive to defend one’s good name—have melted away. But they are too late.  Read more »

Brian Jagde (right) prepares to talk to the hand of Martina Serafin.

This is a man’s world

Brian Jagde‘s creative and charismatic Calaf was almost enough to make up for his counterpart Martina Serafin’s distant portrayal of Turandot.

Read more »

Only connect…

Anna Caterina Antonacci delivered a tour de force of French diction, subtlety of phrasing, variation of vocal timbre, and white-hot stage acting.

Read more »

All right on the western front

Silent Night is in a sense a giant middle finger raised against the conventional wisdom that musical sophistication requires inscrutability.

Read more »

Open source

Ted Hearne’s opera/oratorio The Source brings compositional process and combination of acoustic and electronic elements to the weighty topics of national security leaks, big data, and war.

Read more »

Tag sale

It is a good rule of thumb that if you emerge from a massive grand opera like Aida feeling any less than overwhelmed, you have a right to be somewhat disappointed.

Read more »

All night long

In one important respect, a great production of Puccini resembles a great production of Wagner.

Read more »

Life sentence

Janácek’s disconcerting commentary on youth and immortality received a full-throated performance.

Read more »