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.



Djinn and tonic

Fire and air and earth and water (not necessarily in that order)

A quarter of an hour till the Chinatown bus left Boston, so I plugged my phone into a socket. The other socket was taken by the phone of a young guy in a hoodie.

“You know about Annabelle?” he said. “Annabelle the doll?”  Read more »

The art of the steel

Idle question: Is there a singer today for whom you would stand overnight on line for a ticket to the following day’s concert? The Met was sold out, as was often true in 1979, but standing room, sold the day of the performance, was affordable, the inconvenience of acquiring it aside. It was an occasion—just the line, never mind the event. I began friendships that night that lasted for decades.  Read more »

Congas on the Roof

Sparks fly between Jennifer Jade Ledesna and Matthew Patrick Morris.

It’s something of a relief, on attending a brand new opera, to find that it’s not some wishy-washy attempt at a traditional piece—composers do traditional operas so badly these days—but something quirky and innovative, hitting vocal, stylistic and other bases in a manner that might be slighted by some as “pastiche.” If those bases are, in fact, fairly and entertainingly hit, it’s okay to call it an opera for want of a more precise term. Hasn’t opera, music-drama, always been a pastiche?  Read more »

Cipher space

Salieri’s La Cifra (“The Cipher”) played all over Europe for 20 years, in several translations (German, Spanish). Then, like many a worthy work, it was forgotten.

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Mostly NYFOS

The theme was “Lyrics by Shakespeare.”

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Social Medea

Simone Mayr’s Medea in Corinto, a curious work of 1813, has been revived by Will Crutchfield’s new enterprise, Teatro Nuovo.

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The boy from Syracuse

Tancredi is a serious opera, which means that at its heart lies a dilemma. 

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Too cloistered for comfort

New Amsterdam Opera’s concert version of Donizetti’s elaborate score La favorita, offered energy, panache and several top-notch young soloists.

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