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.

Too cloistered for comfort

New Amsterdam Opera, first heard last year in a surprisingly enjoyable performance of La forza del destino, returned on Saturday night with a concert version of Donizetti’s elaborate score La favorita, offering energy, panache and several top-notch young soloists. Read more »

When in Rome

Mozart was barely sixteen when he wrote Lucio Silla to open the Carnival in Milan in 1772.  The opera seria (his second—he’d written Mitridate for the same occasion two years earlier) was a great hit, given a remarkable 26 performances that season. How many full-length operas have matched that, in Milan or anywhere else? (Le nozze di Figaro would have nine performances in its initial run.)  Read more »

Virgin territory

When Arthur Sullivan (not yet Sir Arthur) composed his “dramatic oratorio” The Martyr of Antioch for the Leeds Music Festival, of which he was director, in 1880, he had just completed The Pirates of Penzance, his fifth operetta with W.S. Gilbert, and it was to Gilbert he turned for assistance with the libretto.  Read more »

Lovedeath in swingtime

I broke up with my first lover over the phone and while watching TV. I’m not proud of this. 

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Giglio d’april

April brought I Puritani to Palermo’s centerpiece Teatro Massimo.

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King of the Neapolitan road

At Palermo’s Teatro Massimo, Zerline, the heroine of Auber’s once beloved Fra Diavolo , undresses down to frilly French skivvies.

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No retreat, Nono surrender

Intolleranza was presented by Leon Botstein and his American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Thursday night, holding the audience rapt and intrigued for 65 minutes.

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Stout fellow

There are two delights here: a delectable score too rarely heard and an introduction at close quarters to half a dozen young singers ready for takeoff, indeed already flying.

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