Cher Public

A Pole in the head

Enthusiasm is contagious–you have to cover up carefully lest it make you sick. It seems that any time a rarely performed piece of music more than a quarter century old is hauled out for inspection, it is burdened with the label of “neglected masterpiece.” This makes good copy and stirs up interest, but it also sets up unreasonable expectations that the work itself is blameless in failing to meet. Even some familiar operas we happily attend every several years are less than masterpieces, after all. If they engage us and are worthy of hearing, seeing, and perhaps returning to, this is more than enough.
Read more »

Ardori inospiti

As the ever-constant pendulum of taste and trend fluctuates so follow the production styles at our grander opera houses and nothing, it seems, says it clearer than a new mounting of Aida. At La Scala the famous Franco Zeffirelli collaboration with Lila de Nobili of 1963, with all its painterly realism, gave way to Pier Luigi Pizzi’s bolder geometric stylization a decade later. No surprise that the most recent Egyptian voluptuary of 2006 by our friend Franco has now been replaced by the most singularly spartan production of Verdi’s masterpiece I think I’ve ever seen. 
Read more »

Gli enigmi sono due

Giacomo Puccini’s final opus interruptus is and shall always remain my favorite opera. The reasons for this preference are so varied and numerous that if they were printed and bound the volume would most assuredly require its own stand.
  Read more »


La farsa del destino

There might be nothing in the world as joyous as a Rossini overture.

Read more »


Battle of the network tsars

For all their orchestral and vocal attractions, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s 15 operas are rarities in the West.

Read more »


Money on the dresser

“Hailed ‘the Meryl Streep of opera’…” begins one sentence of a promotional piece for a Diana Damrau recording of another opera, reproduced on the soprano’s website.

Read more »


Slash by night

Enthusiasts of Janácek’s opera will want to pick up this video immediately.

Read more »


Poor wan Rusalka

The winter 2014 final run of the Met’s first/only Rusalka production (a new one is scheduled in a few seasons) seemed both a nod to the theater’s past and a hint of its future.

Read more »


Tanks a lot, but no tanks

The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess.

Read more »

Show Boat amazon

Rolling along

You might be surprised, though, when that title turns out to be Show Boat.

Read more »