Cher Public

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 »

Seriously? Right in front of Mycenae?

You can pick your family, and you can pick your origin, but you can't pick your family of origin.

You can pick your family and you can pick your origin, but you can’t pick your family of origin.

Deborah Voigt for a time referred to herself kiddingly-on-the-square as Ariadne Incorporated. When you sing a role particularly well, it may end up dominating your schedule—ask Lise Lindstrom or Latonia Moore, neither of whom had a break for years running from being Turandot Inc. or Aida Inc, respectively. I imagine it to be a secure feeling, but I do wonder if it’s also like knowing you’re going to have the same thing for dinner every night for the next year, except in Christine Goerke’s case, some version of that scenario where dinner is one part triathalon, one part nervous breakdown.  Read more »

This is a man’s world

Brian Jagde (right) prepares to talk to the hand of Martina Serafin.

Brian Jagde (right) prepares to talk to the hand of Martina Serafin.

On Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending the season-opening performance of Turandot at San Francisco Opera, directed by Garnett Bruce and conducted by Nicola Luisotti. I had been looking forward to this performance for a while, not only for its daring score—equal parts Puccinian schmaltz, nineteenth century “oriental” musical topics, and hard-edged machine-age dissonances—but also to see what the Opera would be able to do with Turandot’s strange personalities and plot.  Read more »

A midnight girl in a nine o’clock town

Samantha Hankey, so impressive as Diana and Giove-in-Diana in Juilliard’s recent run of Cavalli’s La Calisto, was the perfect Cenerentola.

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Only connect…

Anna Caterina Antonacci delivered a tour de force of French diction, subtlety of phrasing, variation of vocal timbre, and white-hot stage acting.

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Pyramid scheme

Isn’t it inspiring how deeply Francesca Zambello has sunk her tentacles into the heart of American opera?

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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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