Cher Public

Embroidered silk

After having triumphed last month in Paris in Stéphane Braunschweig’s new Norma at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Maria Agresta began 2016 more modestly. For her American stage debut, the Italian soprano knocked on Rodolfo’s door as Mimi in the 458th performance of Franco Zeffirelli’s outsized production of Puccini’s La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera, Her delicately-acted, sumptuously-sung seamstress transformed what might have been just an average Wednesday night revival into something finer.   Read more »

Night and dreams

At the Opernhaus Zürich, the coat check is not optional. A collective hush extends throughout the hall just before the dimming of the lights. And it may be the last opera house in the world where the overwhelming majority of patrons still dress in formal attire; I have never felt like such a slob in my khakis and untucked shirt. Yet the pomp is not without reason; I do not believe there is another opera company in the world that maintains such impressively high musical values while performing in a fairly intimate space with stellar acoustics. Read more »