Cher Public

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.

Waiting for the sun

Some years ago, this writer used to attend a coven of witches devoted to Hekate, goddess of magic and crossroads. On nights of the dark of the moon, we would invoke her and the winds, sitting in pitch darkness and speaking in tongues, receiving visions in the absence of any external light.

I was strongly reminded of this experience last night while attending the New York premiere of Kopernikus, an opera by the Canadian mystic Claude Vivier, who was murdered in Paris in 1983, three years after its completion.  Read more »

Prophète bien aimé

“Rich, well-metaled … tirelessness” tenor Errin Duane Brooks as Jean

New York was once a truly swinging opera town, with two major repertory companies (discreetly rivals) and one or two major league concert opera companies. The concert companies performed three or four items of forgotten repertory starring little-known foreign stars or local stars who wanted to attempt obscure roles. It was a great deal, with the American Opera Society and its successor, Opera Orchestra of New York. Then the audience got old and the money dried up.    Read more »

Soldiering on

Britten’s penultimate opera, the anti-war ghost story Owen Wingrave, was composed for television performance in 1971, and the cast of that original staging was a golden book of the great Britten singers of his times: Janet Baker, Heather Harper, Peter Pears,John Shirley-Quirk, Benjamin LuxonRead more »

The lady in question

The story shows what may happen when corrupt individuals occupy positions of trust.

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A Lesbian in distress

Zelmira, a work of 1822, was the last of the eight operas Rossini composed for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, then the largest opera house in Italy—perhaps in Europe.

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Still crazy after all these years

A return to Amore Opera’s production of Meyerbeer’s Dinorah to hear the second cast underlined two conclusions.

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Lite Meyerbeer

Amore Opera, one of New York’s smaller opera companies, is presenting the first local run of Dinorah, ou le Pardon de Ploërmel since before the war.

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Mage of all work

Utopia Opera is fond of the less well known branches of the Savoy repertory (as the company name suggests), and is currently (through next weekend) doing a job on an early and rare bird of the flock, The Sorcerer.

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