Every year I say I’m not going to another La Bohème because I’ve seen this too many times. And every year I end up going to multiple performances. I always find an excuse. “Oh there’s so-and-so singing and I haven’t heard him in anything but Madama Butterfly and that doesn’t even count because the tenor doesn’t sing at all after the first act …” But today after I won the lotto for yet another Bohème I wondered if I go simply because the opera (and production) is comfort food. At this point in my second career as an opera-queen-with-two-X-chromosomes, La Bohème doesn’t require very active, pins-and-needles listening. It’s like watching an old MGM musical. Read more »
If you are of the belief that Show Boat can stand on its own as a classic score and thus doesn’t need the trappings of musical production, you’ll love the New York Philharmonic’s “semi-staged” production. Conductor/director Ted Sperling presents the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein classic as almost entirely a concert opera. Only a thin backdrop of an old-fashioned river-boat set the scene. The singers and dancers were dressed in modern evening wear, and the action is limited to the thin apron of the Avery Fisher Hall stage. Sperling uses the entire Philharmonic, instead of the usual pared-down orchestra that’s typical for these musical presentations. Read more »
At the first intermission at last night’s Met revival of Aida, I turned to my companion and said, “So… what about the Aida? I thought she was supposed to be good.” I had heard so many positive reviews about Liudmyla Monastyrska that I was really expecting something special. Instead, my feelings about her performance progressed from tepid disappointment to outright dismay. I actually can’t recall being so disappointed with a singer. Read more »
The Metropolitan Opera desperately needed a new production of Le nozze di Figaro.
I always think of Don Giovanni as half of the greatest opera ever written. Or, actually, about 2/3 of the greatest opera ever written.
After viewing Stefan Herheim’s production of Rusalka, I’ve got a new category: “regie slick.”
The appeal of Ariadne auf Naxos (for me anyway) is the acknowledgment that underneath it all, opera (and all other forms of “high art”) is really show business.
A good performance of a Rossini opera buffa usually bubbles along merrily.
It’s rare to encounter a video of an opera that has zero redeeming qualities, but I think I might have found it: the latest Arena di Verona La Traviata.