It’s been a surprising season in San Francisco: lots of comings and goings, often serendipitous, and what looked on paper to be in the mid-range of “good enough” has instead been, on the whole, deeply satisfying. While next season’s slate of operas and stars prompted one local critic to pen the headline “San Francisco Opera announces end of reviewer’s interest in art form,” the summer season still promises some thrills. Read more »
I can scarcely remember a performance where so many conflicting thoughts raced through my mind as happened Thursday night during the Met Orchestra’s “bleeding chunks” of Wagner’s Ring at Carnegie Hall. On one hand, superb Wagnerians Christine Goerke and Stefan Vinke soared through duets and solos from Siegfried and Götterdammerung magnificently supported by the sterling orchestra, but the complicated subtext prevented me from entirely enjoying the evening. Read more »
“Has anyone ever seen a truly great production of this opera?” asked Parterre’s Jungfer Marianne Leizmetzerin last November, in the course of sharing audio from an excellent 1974 Vienna Forza del destino. Marianne received few nominations in follow-up comments. When we talk of great Traviatas and great Falstaffs, it is likely we mean the direction and design teams contributed to the greatness. When we talk of great Forzas, we usually mean they did not get in the way. There was great singing, perhaps great conducting, and what was framing the musical performance was not ruinously bad. Read more »
Washington National Opera’s first Ring Cycle came to a bittersweet conclusion this past Sunday, closing the door on an extraordinary three weeks in the opera house and a remarkable musical and theatrical achievement for the company.
Sunday afternoon’s all-Richard Strauss concert served as a de facto commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the debut of Renée Fleming, long one of the house’s biggest stars.
The grand illusion is that we know it all. From four hundred years of opera, we’ve distilled the worthy survivors.
Los Angeles saw the first U.S. performance of Giacomo Puccini’s snow-dusted weeper in 1897 just a year after the young Toscanini led the prima in Turin.
Regina Opera almost completely fulfilled its mission Saturday afternoon with their production of Manon Lescaut.
What we really need, some seem to believe, is fuller representation of the 19th century.
A biopic entitled Florence Foster Jenkins, marvelously directed by Stephen Frears of Philomena and The Queen fame, stars the actress that never ceases to amaze us all, Meryl Streep, as Mme. Jenkins.