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.



Purists

I suppose the most significant moment of the season premiere of Bellini’s I Puritani at the Metropolitan Opera occurred when someone—a deranged purist no doubt—heckled Javier Camarena from the balcony of the opera house for withholding the infamous high F during “Credeasi, misera.”  Read more »

Sleeping with the fishes

With a cast of stellar singers and maladroit direction by Mary Zimmerman, Dvorák’s Rusalka debuts in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera. The libretto, by Jaroslav Kvapil (based upon the fairy tale Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué) is probably most recognizable as an iteration of The Little Mermaid, a folktale made famous by Hans Christian Andersen in the 19th century, and the wonderful world of Disney in the 20th.   Read more »

It’s a Mantua’s world

Verdi’s Rigoletto returned to the Met Friday in the stilted “Las Vegas” production by Michael Mayer, with mostly competent singing from a good-looking cast. However, in the role of Gilda, Olga Peretyatko was the standout performer, with a clean, brilliant soprano and a fresh face. In both “Caro nome” and “Tutte le feste al tempio” she displayed a spinning, controlled vocalism with moving, evocative phrasing.  Read more »

Not my dragoon

The Metropolitan Opera’s revival of Carmen began with a bit of drama Thursday night when tenor Rafael Davila replaced Marcelo Álvarez.

Read more »

You give me fever

Mortality is ugly—it smells, it makes uncomfortable noises, it takes its time; and then there is the overwhelming sense of dread and helplessness.

Read more »

A little off the top

Beaumarchais clearly delighted in this unobtrusive realm.

Read more »

Musical theater of the absurd

It’s easy to see why Leonard Bernstein’s Candide was a flop when it premiered on Broadway.

Read more »

Foolish love

The Met ushers out this wretched year and rings in the new with an elegant and effective new production of Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.

Read more »

Conversion narrative

Blood-and-guts singing is the reason to see Nabucco at the Metropolitan Opera this season.

Read more »

Mourning glory

I can think of no other role that provides the most unique promise of humiliation, and consequently the most opportunity for glory.

Read more »