Cher Public

The love that dare not yawp its name

Bi-curious, not judgmental.

Walt Whitman, that great American bard of free verse who sent legions of us struggling to define “yawp” in our AP English classes, was also a man of queer taste. By the outbreak of Civil War, he’d become something of a dandy about town—a well-known New York belletrist who fancied Romantic poetry, loved to skinny-dip with The Youth, and enjoyed mooning over bel canto rep in the bosomy company of contraltos.  Read more »

A voice that must be heard

The Metropolitan Opera’s new tagline, ‘The Voice Must be Heard,” was on bright display Monday night when, at the center of the company’s revival of Puccini’s La bohème, one found the rich and layered talent of Angel Blue. In her debut at the house, Blue sang with a consistent, shimmering soprano that was both vocally secure and emotionally engaging; it conveyed through controlled phrasing her character’s psychology and stark affective trajectory.  Read more »

As time goes on, I realize just what you mean to me

There is a slight chill in the air during the final minutes of La Traviata. Onstage stand a huddled group of people, brought together by death, all pretense forgotten as they offer themselves selflessly to one another. All the barriers that divided them a few weeks prior—guilt over a life of disrepute, a thirst for honor and respectability, the drive to defend one’s good name—have melted away. But they are too late.  Read more »

Outside this house

The 55th New York Film Festival presented the world premiere of Susan Froemke’s marvelous new documentary The Opera House in a special one-time-only screening at the Metropolitan Opera. 

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Dark matter

In Schikaneder’s patriarchal cosmology, darkness is the province of emotional women—not just the erratic fury of the Queen of the Night, but the pathetic supplications of Pamina as well.

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You were dead, you know

Lyric Opera of Chicago opened its 2017-18 season on Saturday evening with a new production of Gluck’s Orphee et Eurydice in the 1774 Paris version.

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Better call Gaul

Bellini’s Norma Monday evening didn’t at all improve on the production it was replacing.

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Star and garters

No amount of scholarly diligence has kept Les contes d’Hoffmann from being the messiest of all standard-repertory messes.

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Py shy

This black-box recital was an aggressively Gallic affair

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Triumphal Arc

Tchaikovsky’s Orleánskaia Djeva (The Maid of Orleans) kicked off Odyssey’s Opera’s fifth season

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