Cher Public

John Masko

John Masko, a native of the Providence, RI area, is an orchestral conducting master’s student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During his undergraduate years at Yale College, John was active in student opera both as a music director and vocal coach, working on productions of Die Fledermaus, Dido and Aeneas, Castor et Pollux, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. After he graduated with a double major in history and music in 2014, John’s diverse interests led him to a two-year international politics research and writing position at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, while he simultaneously studied the art of conducting. He is winner of the 2016 Rubin Institute Audience Review Prize for music criticism.



Baby the rain must fall

World, ash.

As Brünnhilde invokes the gods of an empty Valhalla for one last time and strides confidently into a wall of flame, we pause for a moment, unsure of what will follow. Wagner’s brass play a grotesque fanfare while the flames consume her, and we’re seized with a sudden dread that all might be lost.  Read more »

Human, all too human

Sleep no more: Daniel Brenna and Iréne Theorin.

Siegfried is, in a sense, The Ring’s odd one out. It’s the most intimate opera in the cycle, calling for an eighght-person cast and no ensemble. In mood it’s also the lightest, offering significant periods of genuine comic relief and good humor. But all of this lightness ought not distract us from the tectonic shift occurring beneath the surface: a shift from a world centered around gods, dwarves, and giants to a world of men.  Read more »

The hipster demigoddess

“Radiant and spunky” Iréne Theorin

If Das Rheingold is an opera about infinitude, the illusory idea that the world is large enough to satisfy all of our desires, passions, and lusts, Die Walküre is an opera about scarcity.  Read more »

San Francisco, open your Rheingold gate

Casting the Ring as a parable for the state of the current world, seen through the eyes of a progressive urban opera lover (and not an early German nationalist), offers us soothing self-justification.

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Midcentury, modern

In recent years, Opera Paralléle has established a reputation for creative programming of contemporary opera in San Francisco. Persuaded both by the promise of an unusual Bernstein-Heggie double bill, and the unusual venue of SF Jazz’s Miner Auditorium, I had the pleasure of attending an excellent production this past week. 

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Golden wreck

I really wished to avoid joining the pig pile of derision that has fallen on SF Opera’s premiere of John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West.

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The pleasure of her company

It is not easy for an opera company to follow a spectacular production of La Traviata with Massenet’s Manon.

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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.

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