Asking New Yorkers to travel two hours to the remote but beautiful campus of Bard College in New York’s Hudson River Valley to see an opera can be like asking them to cross the Sahara. Yet if there is any opera I would put my life at risk to see again, it just might be the production of Der Ferne Klang by Franz Schreker that premiered last night as part of Bard’s 21st annual SummerScape. This potentially once-in-a-lifetime production showcased the vast genius of Schreker, as well as the growing skill of director Thaddeus Strassberger, making for a night of complex yet visceral beauty. Read more »
After Friday night, it seems clear that the Brooklyn hipster is destined to be the next audience for opera. Galapagos Art Space was home to another co-production by American Opera Projects and Opera on Tap, this their fifth collaboration, and once again some amazing surprises were presented by this rag-tag bunch of very experimental artists. But aside from the range in quality, timbre and medium presented by the evening, what struck me last night was the audience. Read more »
The wealthy suburban community of Greenwich, CT is a place where diamonds are in no short supply. Yet there are still some diamonds of artistic excellence hidden in this seaside town, including the shockingly well-done production of Hans Werner Henze’s The Runaway Slave (El Cimarrón) by the Greenwich Music Festival. This most likely will be the only time I will ever see this rarely performed gem live, but after experiencing the awesome power of the work last night, I am happy that I’ve seen this amazing piece realized to its greatest potential. Read more »
On Friday, April 16th, American Opera Projects and Opera on Tap presented a triple bill of new works at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, including what is essentially a pastiche, a collection of songs, and a one act opera. There were highs, there were lows; there was booze and opera in the same room. I cannot say I witnessed history that night, but I had a good time, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice marked an epic first, a turning point in the history of opera. In this, the first of the composer’s “reform” operas, his intention was to take the opera seria style popular at the time and to boil it down to its purest dramatic elements, creating an opera of “noble simplicity.”
The joy on my face after opening the plain manila envelope that contained the ArtHaus Musik DVD of Walter Felsenstein‘s 1975-6 Die Hochzeit des Figaro is hard to describe. I wanted to love this DVD with all my heart, as I have with the three other Nozze DVDs I own. I did, and then some. Now, even before you put the first of the two discs into your DVD player, you could start finding problems: “I don’t know any of these singers!” “Singing Mozart in translation?” “The sets look flimsy!” “Lipsynching?” To which I answer, “Who cares?” This production shows, [...]