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.
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.
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.