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.

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!

Shuffle the cards and hitch up the caravans for Morningside! 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.” This consists, in typical Amore fashion, of a lively staging of a repertory staple, in this case Carmen, plus a bel canto rarity, the American premiere of Donizetti’s La ZingaraRead more »

Das Süsses Mädel and the Boy from Berlin

Diana Damrau is a finished artist, the voice full-bodied rather than tinkling, pastel not metal, her agility well-schooled and the instrument of sufficient size to fill the Met. The range is extensive if sometimes a bit thin above the staff, and the core is strong. She does not sing around the note or touch on the note, as the watery coloraturas do; she sings the note. There is an ease and a weight to her passage work, runs are a pleasure but trills sometimes unclear or fudged. She always gives pleasure though one sometimes find her bland, lacking distinctive personality.  Read more »

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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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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Yes, we have no Banat

In The Gypsy Baron (Der Zigeunerbaron), currently (through Sunday) enjoying a revival by the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, you get Strauss waltzes and patriotic marches.

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Mountain high, valley low

Be wary of operas that are famous for just one aria or just one famous opinion.

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