In have a special admiration for singers who can perform well in French. The reasons include both a personal bugaboo (I can remember almost choking over the word gloire the first time I ran across it in a choral piece), and the technical difficulties that the language imposes on any singer. Executing the complex range of dark vowel sounds and schwas requires near perfect control over vowel shape and inflection, even as the high dramatic content of so much of the French repertoire gives a singer plenty of other things to think about. Read more »
Hey, look, everybody! The garbage production of Aida that stunk up San Francisco Opera’s most recent season is now on its way to DC! Isn’t it inspiring how deeply Francesca Zambello has sunk her tentacles into the heart of American opera?
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is first among equals in a spectacular cast when she sings the title role of Ariodante in this season’s installment of Carnegie Hall’s critically acclaimed cycle of Handel’s operas in concert. A brilliantly melodic work, the opera features outstanding arias for each of the principal singers, including Ariodante’s melancholy “Scherza infida” and show-stopping “Doppo note.” Harry Bicket and The English Concert bring authentic Handelian brilliance to this marvelous opera. (Photo: Simon Pauly) Get tickets. Read more »
San Francisco Opera in 2017-2018 presents the Ring cycle, a new John Adams/Peter Sellars collaboration called Girls of the Golden West, plus new productions of Elektra (Christine Goerke, Stephanie Blythe, Adrianne Pieczonka) and Manon (Nadine Sierra, Michael Fabiano.) Read more »
It is a good rule of thumb that if you emerge from a massive grand opera like Aida feeling any less than overwhelmed, you have a right to be somewhat disappointed.
In one important respect, a great production of Puccini resembles a great production of Wagner.
The entire action is set at a cocktail party at the Taylor-Burtons’ circa 1971
Janácek’s disconcerting commentary on youth and immortality received a full-throated performance.
That little place just two hours from the city is on the list of things I shall never understand, like the plot of Parsifal.