Cher Public

Cock of the walk

You are unlikely ever to hear Rimsky-Korsakov’s last opera sung in French, yet the piece, Zolotoy pyetushok (translated as The Golden Cockerel in English, folks around here being wary for some reason of calling it The Golden Rooster) is best known in these parts as Le Coq d’Or, which recalls its Met debut (1918, in French, on a double bill with Cavalleria Rusticana, in Sicilian) and nine subsequent Met seasons in that language.  Read more »

The frailty of everything earthly

If everything you see is great, you are either new to opera or chronically easy to please. Neither condition is anything of which to be ashamed, but the development of standards over a period of years is something to be embraced. Standards make it mean more when something really is worth raving over.  Read more »

Golden but not delicious

The cultiest of cult musicals, an All-American take on the Iliad and the Odyssey, the spectacularly witty Golden Apple of John Latouche (words) and Jerome Moross (music), opened Off Broadway in 1953 to some acclaim, moved to Broadway in 1954 and promptly sank, overweighted by its own cleverness. This is a great American opera (all-singing, no talking) and a downright weird choice for the Encores! series at the City Center.   Read more »

Fifty shades of gold

Anticipation of events like the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th Anniversary bash turns me back into the newly opera-soused kid who begged his parents to let him watch the highlights of the Bing Gala on the family color television.

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Keeping the faith

Going into Washington National Opera’s final presentation of the season, Madama Butterfly, I feared that I might be geisha’d out.

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From the sublime to the stentorian

W.C. Fields used to have a funny trope about in show business you should never work with children or animals. To that list should perhaps be added the soprano Anna Netrebko.

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Elements of style

Antonio Literes, a boy soprano from Majorca, had, we may presume, friends in high places.

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Back to the beach

Were La Rondine an IQ test, I’d be in trouble.

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The Riel thing

By virtue of its subject matter and the auspicious occasion of its commissioning, Louis Riel was destined to be iconic.

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Panache room

“Roberto Alagna has found his most congenial and emotionally moving role yet: Cyrano de Bergerac.”

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