Cher Public

Baby the rain must fall

World, ash.

As Brünnhilde invokes the gods of an empty Valhalla for one last time and strides confidently into a wall of flame, we pause for a moment, unsure of what will follow. Wagner’s brass play a grotesque fanfare while the flames consume her, and we’re seized with a sudden dread that all might be lost.  Read more »

Human, all too human

Sleep no more: Daniel Brenna and Iréne Theorin.

Siegfried is, in a sense, The Ring’s odd one out. It’s the most intimate opera in the cycle, calling for an eighght-person cast and no ensemble. In mood it’s also the lightest, offering significant periods of genuine comic relief and good humor. But all of this lightness ought not distract us from the tectonic shift occurring beneath the surface: a shift from a world centered around gods, dwarves, and giants to a world of men.  Read more »

Boys of the baroque

In less than 10 days two outstanding countertenors, Franco Fagioli and Jakub Józef Orlinski, visited London, offering distinctly different approaches to the solo recital experience. Both takes were rewarding.  Read more »

San Francisco, open your Rheingold gate

Casting the Ring as a parable for the state of the current world, seen through the eyes of a progressive urban opera lover (and not an early German nationalist), offers us soothing self-justification.

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Cave dwellers

Composer/librettist David Hertzberg’s The Rose Elf, which gave its world premiere in the Green-Wood Cemetery Catacombs last weekend, is indeed a marvel of elfin proportions.

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The sun shines nellie

Warmth, humor, and joyful out-and-proud-ness dominate the mood, yet there is considerable darkness in Taylor Mac’s view of both past and present.

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Painful progress

Many lessons surface in Tony Kushner’s epic Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.

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Too cloistered for comfort

New Amsterdam Opera’s concert version of Donizetti’s elaborate score La favorita, offered energy, panache and several top-notch young soloists.

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If it ain’t ‘Brokeback’

Between staging, music, and material, it’s hard to decide what feels most broken about New York City Opera’s American premiere of Brokeback Mountain.

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Home run

The Barber of Seville turned out to be the most overall solid production of the year and even a bit of old-fashioned fun.

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