Cher Public

John Yohalem

John Yohalem’s critical writings have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, American Theater, Opera News, the Seattle Weekly, Christopher Street, Opera Today, Musical America and Enchanté: The Journal for the Urbane Pagan, among other publications. He claims to have attended 628 different operatic works (not to mention forty operettas), but others who were present are not sure they spotted him. What fascinates him, besides the links between operatic event and contemporary history, is how the operatic machine works: How voice and music and the ritual experience of theater interact to produce something beyond itself. He is writing a book on Shamanic Opera-Going.



A Frabjous Day: The Siege of Calais

The turntable set looks much the same from any angle: gutted concrete tenements and perilous alleys, instantly recognizable as a scene of urban guerrilla mayhem. People lived here once. They still do, actually, hidden in the rubble, caring for the wounded, raising children, scavenging food. Indeed, during the overture one of the inhabitants drops from the city wall to raid the camp of the besieging army for bread, and is nearly shot while he’s about it.  Read more »

Imogenary beings

Will Crutchfield’s Bel Canto at Caramoor program of concert operas concluded with a bang on Saturday with Bellini’s first success, Il Pirata, capping 20 years of concert opera on lazy summer evenings after afternoons of musical hors d’oeuvres, songs, scenes, lectures and so forth.  Read more »

In the River Rhine. In it.

It is always a pleasure to hear a great orchestra take on a major score that might sound half-muffled emerging from the pit of an opera house. Das Rheingold, free to burst in the air and dazzle our ears is sure to make Wagnerians happy. Geffen Hall seldom provides a supreme auditory experience, but there were many extraordinary moments in the course of its valedictory to retiring Maestro Alan Gilbert last Thursday night (repeated Saturday and Tuesday; tickets do remain). In all the familiar Wagnerian welter, there were swatches of flavor and color that had not struck me before—like figures of speech in a Shakespeare play in some new actor’s interpretation. This is the sort to make any such occasion fascinating.  Read more »

Arrivederci, Romany!

In the same season that Manhattan School of Music revived The Gypsy Baron, Riverside Theater around the corner is the site of Amore Opera’s “Season of Gypsy Operas.”

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Das Süsses Mädel and the Boy from Berlin

Diana Damrau has chosen for her new Erato recital disc Grand Opera 11 high-flying showpieces from ten operas by Giacomo Meyerbeer.

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Cock of the walk

Zolotoy pyetushok (translated as The Golden Cockerel in English, is best known in these parts as Le Coq d’Or.

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Golden but not delicious

The cultiest of cult musicals, an All-American take on the Iliad and the Odyssey, the spectacularly witty Golden Apple of John Latouche (words) and Jerome Moross (music), opened Off Broadway in 1953 to some acclaim.

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Matchless!

Douglas Moore’s score for The Ballad of Baby Doe has everything that could please and little that could offend.

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Elements of style

Antonio Literes, a boy soprano from Majorca, had, we may presume, friends in high places.

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Ladies’ Quadrille

It is much to be regretted that song recitalists stick to the tried, the true, the excessively familiar when the repertory of song is so vast, so full of treasures ready for the light

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