Cher Public

The singer’s art

prelude boheme revisedLast night I saw a production of La bohème that made me realize something: call me old fashioned, but when I go to the opera, I go to hear beautiful singing. This is because quality singing is the only practice that opera does better than any other popular discipline. Sure, there is good singing to be found in the recital and concert hall, but for me the real blood-and-guts singing has always remained within the opera house.  Read more »

Mourning Wood

Schicci amazonSometimes when you find the club that will have you as a member, you do not easily give up your spot. Woody Allen and Plácido Domingo, the main selling points of a new Gianni Schicchi DVD from Los Angeles Opera, recorded in fall 2015, have several things in common.

Both appeared as promising young talents in the 1960s and cemented their legends over the rest of the twentieth century, first by mining obvious strengths and then by branching out and taking risks. Each man could have retired with honors and nothing more to prove at the turn of the millennium, but each has continued to work tirelessly, even compulsively, in advanced age (Allen is 80; Domingo claims 75).  Read more »

Imagined possibilities

PatienceIn a lecture from 1976, Michel Foucault defined the term subjugated knowledge as “historical contents that have been buried and disguised in a functionalist coherence or systemization.” I have often thought of this term—subjugated knowledge—when thinking of queer history—the various methods of coding and decoding that propel a certain type of work within the artistic canon. An elliptical, strange kind of surfacing. For example, is it fair to consider Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray a gay man? What about Sebastian and Charles in Brideshead Revisited? And what to make of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward IIRead more »


Ezio said than done

Ezio was an inspired choice for Boston’s feisty Odyssey Opera to open its “When In Rome” festival.

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No contest

Richard Wagner viewed dance as an essential element of art, though he used it sparingly in his operas.

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Think pink

LoftOpera offered an unusually satisfying, immensely entertaining production of Rossini’s scintillating portrait of an inveterate seducer.

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New York Philharmonic's Biennial 2016:  The Importance of Being Earnest by Gerald Barry, conducted by Ilan Volkov and directec by Ramin Gray with members of the New York Philharmonic at Rose Theatre, 6/1/16.

There ought to be clowns

Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of listening to someone tell a joke badly?

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Just a song at twilight

“Mr. Levine was conducting his beloved Wagner for what was almost certainly the last time.”

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Incomplete mountain pass

The big news on Van Ness Avenue, it goes without saying, is Calixto Bieito’s operatic debut on these shores.

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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.

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