Cher Public

Patrick Clement James

Patrick Clement James is a writer and teacher based in New York City. His love of opera began in high school, leading to studies in vocal performance at the Manhattan School of Music. He currently studies English literature as a Ph.D. student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and he teaches at Brooklyn College. As a writer, he is particularly interested in the ways that opera participates in the larger contexts of history and culture.

Placebo effect

Reading is fundamental.

Good singing and a dramatically potent (if conservative) production were an unbeatable combination on Tuesday night, when the Metropolitan Opera had the season premiere of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore.  Read more »

Purple hearts

“If I loved you, time and again I would try to say all I’d want you to know.”

The composer Gregory Spears is a unique example of this maxim: one must be “deeply rooted in tradition in order to innovate with integrity.”  Read more »

Angel of the mourning

If it ain't brocade, don't fix it.

If it ain’t brocade, don’t fix it.

The most distinct pleasure of The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera was the polished, yet warm, performance of Susan Graham as Hanna Glawari. Her cultivated, gathered mezzo caressed each phrase of Lehar’s sentimental score. She sounded as fresh and effortless as when she debuted at the house in the early 90s. While her spoken dialogue was not nearly as natural in its production, Graham still managed a folksy, relaxed approached to the role.  Read more »


It was odd, if not downright uncomfortable, to watch Le Nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera.

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Puppet show

Madama Butterfly remains fascinating because of its complexity.

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Leah and the barihunk

At yesterday’s recital at the Morgan Library, Leah Crocetto sang as her encore Kern and Hammerstein’s “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.”

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Untouched by an ‘Angel’

Just because one can write an opera based on a film, does this necessarily indicate that one should?

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From the perspective of current identity politics, Puccini’s Turandot is a disaster of epic proportions.

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A voice that must be heard

At the center of the Met’s revival of Puccini’s La bohème, one found the rich and layered talent of Angel Blue.

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Dark matter

In Schikaneder’s patriarchal cosmology, darkness is the province of emotional women—not just the erratic fury of the Queen of the Night, but the pathetic supplications of Pamina as well.

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