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.



The piccolo on the hearth

Soprano and baritone as lovers are the operatic equivalent of a mixed marriage, and if you give them Dickensian names like Dot and John Peerybingle – well, just try to sing that in Italian, or apostrophize “Dot” with romantic yearning. The concluding consonant defies you. (A less courageous librettist would have transformed her into Dora or Dorothea, but not here.)   Read more »

Triumphal Arc

Gil Rose, who leads the lively Odyssey Opera in Boston, makes a specialty of works like Rienzi and Dmitri that boast a considerable choral presence. He was bound, sooner or later, to get to Tchaikovsky’s Orleánskaia Djeva (The Maid of Orleans), and did so last Saturday, kicking off Odyssey’s fifth season—a remarkably short time in which to have become a major regional presence. The season is entitled “Trial By Fire,” dedicated to five works about Joan of Arc, some staged, others in concert, plus Donizetti’s Siege of Calais.   Read more »

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.

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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.

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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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