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.

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 »


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

From the perspective of current identity politics, Puccini’s Turandot is a disaster of epic proportions: a dumpster fire of misogyny and racism. Its plot concerns a Pekinese princess who avenges her female ancestor by slaughtering a host of misguided suitors. That is until a mysterious prince named Calàf melts her icy, bitter heart with his virile advances—a conflict and resolution tantamount to rape.  Read more »

A voice that must be heard

The Metropolitan Opera’s new tagline, ‘The Voice Must be Heard,” was on bright display Monday night when, at the center of the company’s revival of Puccini’s La bohème, one found the rich and layered talent of Angel Blue. In her debut at the house, Blue sang with a consistent, shimmering soprano that was both vocally secure and emotionally engaging; it conveyed through controlled phrasing her character’s psychology and stark affective trajectory.  Read more »

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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There is much to say about the similarities between the plot of Fidelio and the ancient myth of Orpheus.

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Plummeting in love

The Met’s current production of Verdi’s La Traviata is something of a mixed bag.

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