“In Kristine Opolais, who gave her first Met performance in the title role on Friday night, the company has a Butterfly with the soaring voice and penetrating theatrical presence to meet Minghella’s elegant dramaturgy head on. In fact, she is the most compelling Met Cio-Cio-San since Diana Soviero last sang the role here nearly 20 years ago.” [New York Observer] (Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)
“With the Met admitting to disappointing ticket sales and girding up for what threatens to be a particularly brutal round of union negotiations this summer, it would be a pleasure to report that the company is doing a great job at presenting standard opera repertoire. The sad fact, though, is that the Met is not doing a great job or, in most cases, even a competent job at this core task, as the recent lackluster revivals of Andrea Chénier and La Bohème demonstrated.” [New York Observer]
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
“Opera can, in fact, be something beautiful and moving even when all a performance has going for it is some really excellent singing. And that’s what the Met has served up in its current revival of Bellini’s La Sonnambula, vocalism so splendid it hardly matters it’s happening in a dramatic vacuum.” [New York Observer]
Our Own JJ (not pictured) offers his recommendations for 10 opera and classical music events worth hearing this spring.
In a slight detour from the usual all-opera-all-the-time format of parterre box, the queer opera zine, issue #44 centers on Ben Letzler‘s superb appreciation of film and cabaret diva Zarah Leander.
“The finale of Sweeney Todd left the stage of Avery Fisher Hall littered with corpses, but the evening, for all its flaws, felt vibrantly alive.”
The last place you’d expect to find opera at all, let alone good, exciting opera, is in still-scrappy Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Even when the opera performed is a masterpiece, a truly superb opera performance is exceedingly rare.
“A charming musical performance welded to a dramatic production so old and stale that, like fish left out too long, it’s starting to smell.”