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.

Puppet show

Let me start with the particulars. Last night, Hui He gave a performance of astonishing beauty as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly. Her voice, a vibrant, full bodied soprano, never faltered—so sure and clean was its production: expressive, flexible, athletic, and elegant. Read more »

Leah and the barihunk

At yesterday’s recital at the Morgan Library, presented by the George London Foundation for Singers, Leah Crocetto sang as her encore Kern and Hammerstein’s “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.” The performance was quite special; something seemed to open up in her. Her voice bloomed, redolent with melancholy and longing. Mark Markham, her pianist, urged her on with his jazzy playing; together they developed a symbiotic rapport—they listened to each other, let loose, and had a good time. It was a magical moment, exemplary of all that is wonderful about live performance.  Read more »

Untouched by an ‘Angel’

They’ve got plenty of mutton.

Just because one can write an opera based on a film, does this necessarily indicate that one should? While watching the North American premiere of Thomas AdèsThe Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera, I kept returning to this central question.  Read more »


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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‘Mawrdew,’ he wrote

Published in 1975, James McCourt’s novel Mawrdew Czgowchwz is engaged with a longing for the divine.

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But is it an artful paradox?

It was a timeout—but maybe it was a timeout we deserved.

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There was a moment during Natalie Dessay’s performance of Schubert’s “Gretchen am Spinnrade” when the singer summoned the ghost of her former self.

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Tragedy in song

LoftOpera’s Saturday night performance of Rossini’s Otello successfully appealed to the essential kinetic energy of the operatic art form.

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