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.

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. Certain allegations and newspaper articles floated through the air. But discomfort leads to growth, and opera, like all art, can be both a catalyst for painful change and a salve.  Read more »

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, 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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‘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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