Cher Public

Give ’em Hellman

As musical theatre and opera companies around the country race to celebrate the Leonard Bernstein centennial, the ubiquity of Candidefeels practically unavoidable. And at Washington National Opera, Francesca Zambello’s main gig when she’s not directing internationally or summering up in Cooperstown, Candide’s ubiquity feels wholly inevitable.  Read more »

Family values

An insecure leader hounded by hubris, his repressed, suppressed, and far-from-home younger wife, his tormented son whose own political life is hounded romance and tense alliances, a dangerously seductive third party set on bringing them all down, and a mysterious, threatening governing body that seems to be pulling the strings on the whole thing; a regular day in 2018 Washington, D.C., or Verdi’s Don CarloRead more »

Little house on the scary

Laura Ingalls, only wilder / Photo: Scott Suchman

There are no fruited plains here. Out of a literal perforation in the horizon of the Nebraskan prairie emerges Proving Up, the most convincing case I have ever seen for modern American opera; the medium has been fitted to our sensibilities, using our sonic mediums and poetically and musically evoking our soundscape, and telling a uniquely American story by two of the most persuasive voices in American new opera.  Read more »

Tales of the Bavarian baloney pony

In November, everyone wanted to hear more about Jonas Kaufmann‘s Johnson.

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Girl power

Washington National Opera’s lukewarm Alcina, unthreateningly misguided in both its musical and theatrical values, made little impact.

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I see flags, I hear bells, There's a parade in Memphis. Photo: Scott Suchman

Celeste graffiti

Aida certainly has its longueurs.

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Keeping the faith

Going into Washington National Opera’s final presentation of the season, Madama Butterfly, I feared that I might be geisha’d out.

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Ring cycle

Washington National Opera continued a focus on recent works this season with Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s 2013 opera Champion on the life of boxer Emile Griffith.

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‘Dead Man,’ stumbling

The opera is relentlessly obvious, a work that repeatedly turns to tired tropes and canned characters to fill up its nearly three hour run time.

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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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