Callum John Blackmore

Callum Blackmore is a writer and a researcher currently completing a PhD in historical musicology at Columbia University. Before moving to New York, Callum was awarded degrees from the University of Auckland and the University of Leeds, and has worked with opera companies in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. His research currently focuses on opera and politics in the wake of the French Revolution.

White hot White hot

The great archetypal image of an opera singer is a towering Wagnerian soprano who shatters entire panes of glass the moment she opens her mouth.

on September 16, 2023 at 9:00 AM
Distinctly human Distinctly human

In the five short years that I’ve been in New York, I have seen that crusty old Franco Zeffirelli production of La bohème more times than I can count on one hand. And there are certainly times when that peeling mise-en-scène really shows its age.

on May 30, 2023 at 11:45 AM
Diva moment Diva moment

Angela Meade, reportedly flown in at the very last minute to take on the role of Norma, absolutely triumphed, pulling out all the stops to deliver a commanding performance that should, indeed, go down in history.

on March 19, 2023 at 9:50 AM
A whiter shade of grail A whiter shade of grail

It seems that François Girard has been watching a little too much Star Wars lately. His new production of Lohengrin, which opened at the Metropolitan Opera Sunday afternoon, reduced Wagner’s opera to a knockoff space opera, full of hackneyed sci-fi tropes and B-rated futurist apologue.

on February 27, 2023 at 7:55 AM
Sleek, unstoppable, electrifying Sleek, unstoppable, electrifying

For me, Fedora is the perfect opera

on January 30, 2023 at 11:46 AM
Freaky ‘Freitag’ Freaky ‘Freitag’

Monday November 14th’s performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Freitag aus Licht by the contemporary music ensemble Le Balcon began in complete chaos.

on December 09, 2022 at 12:00 PM
Leveling up or leveling down? Leveling up or leveling down?

Arts Council England, as a global policy trendsetter, may have sounded the death knell for the international opera industry as we know it.

on December 02, 2022 at 12:00 PM
“Oh, thoughtless crew! Ye know not what ye do!” “Oh, thoughtless crew! Ye know not what ye do!”

One wonders whether an obsession with metrics and measurement has the potential to create arts organizations that are more preoccupied with finding systems that quickly and efficiently tick the Arts Council’s boxes than with creating meaningful, impactful art.

on November 30, 2022 at 3:19 PM
A game of 3-D chess A game of 3-D chess

“Opera needs a reset. We think there needs to be a fundamental shift in the ecology.”

on November 28, 2022 at 1:21 PM
Coups de theatre Coups de theatre

This month, both the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique are mounting seminal works about unhinged anti-heroines who meet their downfall after falling head-over-heels for an unavailable, deeply unattainable man – Salome, in the case of the Opéra; and Armide, in the case of the Opéra-Comique.

on November 07, 2022 at 11:04 AM
Exotic asphyxiation Exotic asphyxiation

Both the mise-en-scène and the musical direction amplified the absolute worst tendencies of the Opéra Comique’s Lakmé in the most tasteless and baffling ways.

on October 02, 2022 at 10:00 AM
Ceaselessly beautiful Ceaselessly beautiful

With the phenomenal cast that stacked Paris Opera’s production of I Capuleti e i Montecchi , it was easy to overlook the quirks of Bellini’s opera and get lost in the pleasures of glorious bel canto singing.

on September 26, 2022 at 10:00 AM
Sweet and low: Orlinski’s Orfeo Sweet and low: Orlinski’s Orfeo

My impression was of a very fine singer performing a role that was slightly too large for him.

on September 23, 2022 at 5:11 PM
Thrust into the political spotlight Thrust into the political spotlight

The Met’s revival of Turandot on Saturday night was surprisingly contentious.

on May 01, 2022 at 9:54 AM
Any old palace Any old palace

At the heart of this success was Quinn Kelsey’s revelatory take on Rigoletto. He was matched, vocally and dramatically, by Rosa Feola’s Gilda—a tour-de-force performance.

on January 01, 2022 at 10:48 AM
After midnight After midnight

The Met’s Cinderella is a charming adaptation of Massenet’s opera. Frothy, fun, and enchanting, it is a magical holiday treat for the whole family to enjoy.

on December 25, 2021 at 8:30 AM
A certain theatrical precision A certain theatrical precision

Sondra Radvanovsky was a force of nature as Tosca on Thursday night at the Met.

on December 04, 2021 at 9:59 AM
In my very own private hell In my very own private hell

No, we don’t really need another “Orpheus” opera. Or, rather, we don’t need this one.

on November 24, 2021 at 11:24 PM
Love for sail Love for sail

Last weekend, On Site Opera presented What Lies Beneath, a program of maritime-themed operatic excerpts staged aboard the 19th century schooner Wavertree (now a part of the South Street Seaport Museum).

on August 30, 2021 at 11:15 AM
The Zoom Generation The Zoom Generation

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions were one of the last events I attended in person in 2020. Now, one year on, the competition has returned, this time in an online format, and this time with an entirely new name: The Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition, after the event’s new sponsors.

on May 19, 2021 at 10:01 AM
Unashamedly dark Unashamedly dark

It was a meaty program. But both singers had the chops for it.

on January 25, 2021 at 11:00 AM
Times after times Times after times

Despite the ongoing pandemic and the political upheaval, the Prototype Festival is back, and it is bigger and more accessible than ever before.

on January 11, 2021 at 9:25 AM
The mélodie lingers on The mélodie lingers on

Everything’s coming up mélodie! As the pandemic rages on and new lockdowns have thrown large-scale performances into disarray, record labels have been releasing new albums of French art song by the bucketload.

on November 27, 2020 at 2:15 PM
Standing woman Standing woman

It struck me that Jamie Barton’s voice is not dissimilar to a Henry Moore sculpture: grand and monumental but never brash or ostentatious; eccentric and offbeat but always graceful and tastefully molded.

on October 05, 2020 at 12:33 PM