John Yohalem

John Yohalem's critical writings have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, American Theater, Opera News, the Seattle Weekly, Christopher Street, Opera Today, Musical America and Enchanté: The Journal for the Urbane Pagan, among other publications. He claims to have attended 628 different operatic works (not to mention forty operettas), but others who were present are not sure they spotted him. What fascinates him, besides the links between operatic event and contemporary history, is how the operatic machine works: How voice and music and the ritual experience of theater interact to produce something beyond itself. He is writing a book on Shamanic Opera-Going.

Dagonistic pluralism Dagonistic pluralism

To bring a well-known story to the stage, many methods are available.

on May 14, 2024 at 9:00 AM
Bottoms were tougher in those days Bottoms were tougher in those days

parterre box turns 30 on Sunday and writers from around the box are reflecting on the legacy of founder James Jorden and three decades of “remembering when opera was queer and dangerous and exciting and making it that way again”

on November 28, 2023 at 9:30 AM
Elixir in the wine country Elixir in the wine country

At the northern tip of Seneca, longest and deepest of New York State’s Finger Lakes, sits the pretty little town of Geneva.

on July 29, 2023 at 9:00 AM
Variations on salon themes Variations on salon themes

In French opera—until Pelleas et Mélisande anyway—there is always a great deal of dance; often, dance rather than song is the main event.

on June 01, 2023 at 12:44 PM
Dad flawed Dad flawed

Du Yun is the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of Angel’s Bone. Her new opera, In Our Daughter’s Eyes, a one-act monodrama for bass-baritone and an orchestra of six, opened the current tenth Prototype Festival, in a performance at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, starring erstwhile Met regular Nathan Gunn.

on January 10, 2023 at 1:18 PM
Manon of the gowns Manon of the gowns

A double bill (with a choral intermezzo) that just finished four nights’ run at the Manhattan School of Music is a delight, musically whimsical and reminiscent, wittily and colorfully staged.

on December 12, 2022 at 8:02 AM
Clear, crackling, comprehensible Clear, crackling, comprehensible

Davóne Tines has sung with Early Music groups and avant-garde ones, and he has a taste for projects that cross artistic boundaries, which suits an innate showmanship.

on November 10, 2022 at 9:00 AM
No sex please, we’re German No sex please, we’re German

Why is so twinkling, tuneful a score so little known?

on April 23, 2022 at 9:00 AM
Work on ‘Progress’ Work on ‘Progress’

Young voices ringing out Stravinsky’s witty melodies at close quarters gives great pleasure if you are fond of this witty score and its many parodies of early operatic cliché.

on February 20, 2022 at 8:00 AM
There are fascists at the bottom of our garden There are fascists at the bottom of our garden

It’s 1938. We know, even if the characters do not, how the story will end.

on February 02, 2022 at 1:59 PM
You’ve got male You’ve got male

Two hours of bedazzlement await you.

on February 01, 2022 at 11:15 AM
Anyone can puzzle Anyone can puzzle

Steve adored puzzles, solving them and creating them, so it makes you wonder that this one continued to fester—was that so few of his songs attained the rank of “standard.”

on November 29, 2021 at 2:00 PM
A seacoast of Bohemia A seacoast of Bohemia

The people—I assume most of them were natives—seemed pretty happy at La Boheme at the San Carlo on Saturday night. For one thing, the theater was packed to the top tier, all of us masked (vigili di fuoco—firemen—made sure of that)

on October 19, 2021 at 10:25 AM
Real Housewives of Verismo Real Housewives of Verismo

New Camerata Opera is presenting its first staged and indoor program in some time, at “The Muse,” a lofty cabaret space up against a cemetery in Bushwick, and their singers sound like they’ve been champing at the bit for eighteen months and are bursting to vocalize!

on September 24, 2021 at 1:31 PM
Goodbye, Nostalgia! Goodbye, Nostalgia!

The program was set around themes of loss, of unfulfilled wishes, the endurance of loss, triumphant or depressed.

on September 22, 2021 at 12:29 PM
Great and happy, but not quite live Great and happy, but not quite live

This was a great and happy event, but it wasn’t so much a musical one.

on September 07, 2021 at 11:14 AM
Skyscrapers marching on Skyscrapers marching on

If you have not been following the exploits of Teatro Grattacielo during lockdown, it’s not because they haven’t been exploitatory all over the place.

on June 21, 2021 at 11:47 AM
Infrequent flyers in unfamiliar skies Infrequent flyers in unfamiliar skies

Jonathan Dove’s Flight, which premiered at Glyndebourne in 1998 and is now being streamed by the Seattle Opera, is structured like one of those baroque extravaganzas where some half dozen characters find themselves (in every sense) on a magical island, its properties little understood.

on April 12, 2021 at 3:46 PM
Terracotta puppets of the gods Terracotta puppets of the gods

Dancing sheep! Flying sheep! Flying sheep who dance!

on January 20, 2021 at 1:12 PM
All about my moth All about my moth

The performance of an opera, indeed, seems almost a third narrative, atop the dreamer under the scientific microscope and the larva turning into a butterfly, and the mingling is not always clear—but then, clarity never seems to be the intention.

on January 16, 2021 at 1:24 PM
On the beach On the beach

The immediate and personal catastrophe interleaves with the general and universal and ancient.

on January 13, 2021 at 1:00 PM
Crossing over Crossing over

Without furnishings to distract them, the cast prowled the stage with sinister energy, exchanging significant looks and deadly secrets as though fearing Nihilists behind every drapery.

on January 12, 2021 at 9:13 AM
You aren’t any good to me dead You aren’t any good to me dead

The Murder of Halit Yozgat by Ben Frost and Petter Ekmann is flavorsome in its use of sound, vocal and otherwise, to explore the elements of the story, to keep you tied in, and guessing.

on January 11, 2021 at 8:54 AM
Nooks and crannies Nooks and crannies

Nathan Hull was an operatic Quixote who did not go it alone, but inspired bands of optimists, giving proper employment to the many worthy New Yorkers mad enough to study voice and pleasure rare elsewhere to those of us thrilled to take it in.

on August 16, 2020 at 11:22 AM