Cher Public

A midnight girl in a nine o’clock town

The venerable Merola Opera Program, celebrating its 60th year this summer, presented a perfectly cast Cenerentola on August 3 in the auditorium of the San Francisco Conservatory. Read more »

Only connect…

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 »

Pyramid scheme

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?

A point upon a map of fog

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.) 

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Tag sale

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.

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All night long

In one important respect, a great production of Puccini resembles a great production of Wagner.

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Lounging in their caftans and planning a triumph on their own behalf

The entire action is set at a cocktail party at the Taylor-Burtons’ circa 1971

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Life sentence

Janácek’s disconcerting commentary on youth and immortality received a full-throated performance.

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Stone cold killer

This may be Karita Mattila’s greatest role.

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Four faints in five acts

That little place just two hours from the city is on the list of things I shall never understand, like the plot of Parsifal.

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