Richard Lynn is a New York City based opera lover who writes at parterre box under the name Dawn Fatale. His love of opera started at a very young age when he used to listen to the Met broadcasts and obsessively read back issues of Opera News in lieu of socializing at family gatherings. In college, he majored in Chemistry while taking as many music and theater courses as possible. He worked at the Music Library to get access to the opera recordings that were off limits to undergraduates. Since the early 1990s he has been writing about opera at parterre box and other publications and is particularly interested the evolution of staging and performance practices.
Last year at this time, performance arts organizations in NYC were announcing that the COVID pandemic would force closures through the summer. We here at parterre box, having honed our mantic powers predicting the precise timing of a singer’s vocal collapse, foresaw a grimmer reality.
James Levine turns 72 this year. Even though his health has improved considerably in the past year and he may continue to conduct for a decade or more, it seems inevitable that he will step down as the Met’s Music Director sometime in the next few years to assume the role of Conductor Laureate.
Hans Neuenfels‘ new staging of Lohengrin for Bayreuth is the grimmest version of this work I’ve seen. Not that this opera is all bright lights and lollipops, but he gave us a particularly dark take on the work, motivated, in part, by Wagner’s writings at the time of the opera’s composition.
Fertilization; birth; growth; decay. Eating; digestion; defecation; fermentation; biogas recovery; food production. Wagner’s Tannhäuser is a meditation on the relentless, repetition of cycles that define our existence and man’s insistence on the possibility salvation despite all the biochemical evidence to the contrary.
Our Doyenne demonstrated her omniscience once again by sending me a DVD of Rimsky Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or (Zolotoy Petushok) to review. I’m with musicologist Richard Taruskin who stated that Rimsky Korsakov was “perhaps the most underrated composer of all time” (and I’m sure his editor insisted on including the “perhaps”).
The ENO was filled with ghosts last week. Spectral, possibly illusory figures fleetingly materialized in the Internet chatrooms that provide the setting for much of Nico Muhly’s new opera Two Boys, and brutal boarding school memories came back to troubled life in director Christopher Alden’s dark take on Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The world has come to an end and we are at the end of the world, the collapsed ruins of a bridge that can no longer be crossed. There is no greenery; the few trees that are left are dead and being chopped down for fuel. Shell-shocked survivors wander through this hellscape, fighting over the…
Opera is about the possibility of transformation. An unassuming woman can walk in through the theater’s stage door and emerge on stage as fiery princess capable of making the walls rattle. Alas, these transformations inevitably fail to stick. Every Turandot must hang up her crown; every Elektra must put down her ax one final time.…
In the summer of 2007, at the height of the heated speculation and public debates over who would succeed Wolfgang Wagner as the head of the Bayreuth Festival, his daughter, Katharina Wagner presented a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the festival, replacing the mind-numbingly boring one by her father (his third at…