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.

When off-off was on to something

Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. A sort of bliss. No one was sure where the musical form was going to go. Off-Off Broadway, they experimented in all directions. Heavier rock, lighter rock, no rock at all, no music at all, no lyrics at all, rock opera, ballad opera, folk opera. Read more »

Nixon in Jersey: The Renixoning

The annual Princeton Festival in June climaxes with a fully staged grand opera at the McCarter Theater on campus. This year’s offering (last Sunday, to be repeated next Sunday) was John Adams’s most popular opera, Nixon in China, given a first-rate production and performed by an excellent youthful cast. Read more »

Mistress class

Maria Callas was unique; today, she is more legend than reality.  Charles Ludlam was unique; today, he is a legend sadly close to forgotten. Read more »

Band in Boston

The Elector of Hannover, as is well known, kept a hippogriff, a creature long thought fabulous or at least extinct. In fact, he was in every way fabulous. The Elector hoped to fly to London on its back and descend to the throne should the moribund Queen Anne ever actually die. Alas, when she was finally found to be dead, in 1714, the animal had vanished and King George went to England by boat. Read more »

In a deep vaulted cell

We convoke for Dido and Aeneas in an arched tunnel a city block long, lit by candles in the many recesses.

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All I mask of you

Amore Opera, an old-fashioned, adventurous little company that performs ambitious and sometimes delectably obscure but worthy repertory at the Riverside Theatre, is now (through Sunday) presenting Un ballo in maschera.

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Waiting for the sun

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.

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Prophète bien aimé

New Amsterdam Opera specializes in American singers whose abilities are as yet little known.

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