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.


The boy from Syracuse The boy from Syracuse

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

on July 31, 2018 at 9:00 AM
Too cloistered for comfort 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.

on June 04, 2018 at 10:02 AM
When in Rome When in Rome

Mozart was barely sixteen when he wrote Lucio Silla to open the Carnival in Milan in 1772.

on May 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Virgin territory Virgin territory

When Arthur Sullivan (not yet Sir Arthur) composed his “dramatic oratorio” The Martyr of Antioch in 1880, he had just completed The Pirates of Penzance.

on May 07, 2018 at 8:54 AM
Lovedeath in swingtime Lovedeath in swingtime

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

on April 30, 2018 at 12:41 PM
Giglio d’april Giglio d’april

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

on April 16, 2018 at 9:26 AM
King of the Neapolitan road 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.

on March 24, 2018 at 11:23 AM
No retreat, Nono surrender 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.

on March 03, 2018 at 9:00 AM
Stout fellow 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.

on February 17, 2018 at 2:30 PM
Take this ‘Job’ and stage it Take this ‘Job’ and stage it

There is some difficulty in describing just what IYOV the musical occasion is—and I’ll take refuge in calling it a musical work in the current PROTOTYPE Festival.

on January 17, 2018 at 1:56 PM
A little Proust A little Proust

Though the novel’s structure and texture are often compared to musical forms such as Wagnerian music-drama, who would attempt to turn Proust’s A la Recherche de Temps Perdu into opera?

on January 12, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Well-trod cinders in fitting slippers Well-trod cinders in fitting slippers

Forgotten operas when revived may prove to be only their own reward.

on December 09, 2017 at 11:27 AM
What’s at stake for a soul on fire? What’s at stake for a soul on fire?

Norman Dello Joio, who was knocking about winning prizes for film and TV scores, composed The Trial at Rouen, his second opera on the subject, for NBC.

on December 06, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Kiss the pearls goodbye Kiss the pearls goodbye

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s spectacularly colorful and glitzy new production of The Pearl Fishers opened on Sunday.

on November 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Girls on horseback Girls on horseback

It’s a fairly traditional post-Patrice-Chereau Ring, set during the Industrial Revolution.

on November 22, 2017 at 7:30 AM
Allowing the birds to nest in your hair Allowing the birds to nest in your hair

In the seventies and eighties Dominick Argento (who turned ninety this year) was one of the most oft-performed of American opera composers.

on November 13, 2017 at 9:37 AM
The last ruse of summer The last ruse of summer

Flotow’s Martha, a work of 1847 that was popular around the world for a hundred years.

on November 06, 2017 at 4:11 PM
The piccolo on the hearth The piccolo on the hearth

Riccardo Zandoni’s Il Grillo del Focolare is an opera after all.

on October 18, 2017 at 12:04 PM
Triumphal Arc Triumphal Arc

Tchaikovsky’s Orleánskaia Djeva (The Maid of Orleans) kicked off Odyssey’s Opera’s fifth season

on September 20, 2017 at 10:32 AM
A Frabjous Day: The Siege of Calais A Frabjous Day: The Siege of Calais

The turntable set looks much the same from any angle: gutted concrete tenements and perilous alleys, instantly recognizable as a scene of urban guerrilla mayhem.

on August 08, 2017 at 1:18 PM
Imogenary beings Imogenary beings

Will Crutchfield’s Bel Canto at Caramoor program of concert operas concluded with a bang on Saturday with Bellini’s first success, Il Pirata.

on July 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM
In the River Rhine.  In it. In the River Rhine.  In it.

It is always a pleasure to hear a great orchestra take on a major score that might sound half-muffled emerging from the pit of an opera house.

on June 05, 2017 at 12:59 PM
Arrivederci, Romany! Arrivederci, Romany!

In the same season that Manhattan School of Music revived The Gypsy Baron, Riverside Theater around the corner is the site of Amore Opera’s “Season of Gypsy Operas.”

on June 02, 2017 at 8:11 PM
Das Süsses Mädel and the Boy from Berlin Das Süsses Mädel and the Boy from Berlin

Diana Damrau has chosen for her new Erato recital disc Grand Opera 11 high-flying showpieces from ten operas by Giacomo Meyerbeer.

on May 31, 2017 at 12:57 PM
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