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.


Cock of the walk Cock of the walk

Zolotoy pyetushok (translated as The Golden Cockerel in English, is best known in these parts as Le Coq d’Or.

on May 20, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Golden but not delicious Golden but not delicious

The cultiest of cult musicals, an All-American take on the Iliad and the Odyssey, the spectacularly witty Golden Apple of John Latouche (words) and Jerome Moross (music), opened Off Broadway in 1953 to some acclaim.

on May 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Matchless! Matchless!

Douglas Moore’s score for The Ballad of Baby Doe has everything that could please and little that could offend.

on May 08, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Elements of style Elements of style

Antonio Literes, a boy soprano from Majorca, had, we may presume, friends in high places.

on May 07, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Ladies’ Quadrille Ladies’ Quadrille

It is much to be regretted that song recitalists stick to the tried, the true, the excessively familiar when the repertory of song is so vast, so full of treasures ready for the light

on May 03, 2017 at 10:08 AM
Yes, we have no Banat Yes, we have no Banat

In The Gypsy Baron (Der Zigeunerbaron), currently (through Sunday) enjoying a revival by the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, you get Strauss waltzes and patriotic marches.

on April 28, 2017 at 3:22 PM
Mountain high, valley low Mountain high, valley low

Be wary of operas that are famous for just one aria or just one famous opinion.

on April 13, 2017 at 9:02 AM
How do you solve a problem like Medea? How do you solve a problem like Medea?

I was puzzled by my initial exposure to the Medea of Aribert Reimann, a work of 2010.

on April 12, 2017 at 11:00 AM
A “Juive’ for the 21st century A “Juive’ for the 21st century

A brilliant production of La Juive like that of Peter Konwitschny generalizes the message that mindless hate does not pay and the mindless mob is always the enemy of civilization.

on April 12, 2017 at 8:47 AM
Clash of symbols Clash of symbols

La Campana Sommersa (The Sunken Bell), which is being presented by the New York City Opera at the Rose Theater through April 7, is a true oddball.

on April 01, 2017 at 12:10 PM
Metamorphoses Metamorphoses

Leos Janacek composed Adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears, with its singing forest creatures of many species, in 1922-23.

on March 31, 2017 at 11:57 AM
The power of fête The power of fête

The New Amsterdam Opera Company presented a concert Forza (orchestra and chorus, yes; sets and costumes, no) at $35 a ticket.

on March 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM
The Importance of Being Rudolph The Importance of Being Rudolph

Since Gilbert and Sullivan remain constant in the light-opera repertory, somewhere between Fledermaus and Les Mis in popular esteem, there must be good reasons their final collaboration, The Grand Duke, is seldom revived.

on March 06, 2017 at 2:07 PM
Cross fit Cross fit

Opera composers do not often change their spots.

on February 27, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Pretty in Puritani Pretty in Puritani

Pretty Yende was still hanging around after her last Barbiere and she knows the role of Elvira, having sung it in Zurich last June.

on February 15, 2017 at 8:00 AM
“Thy power standeth not in multitude nor thy might in strong men” “Thy power standeth not in multitude nor thy might in strong men”

An unstaged performance of Juditha Triumphans by five soloists and the Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon.

on February 09, 2017 at 9:04 PM
Mahlerei Mahlerei

strong>Christian Gerhaher does not appear at first to sing but rather to speak on pitches, telling stories, explaining words by lingering on them or biting them off short.

on December 20, 2016 at 5:03 PM
Daggers are a thane’s best friend Daggers are a thane’s best friend

How often do you hear Macbeth with four really good singers in its four big roles?

on December 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM
The Minnesanger of Seville The Minnesanger of Seville

Seville bills itself as the “City of 150 operas,” and celebrated this fact at the Exposition of 1992 by erecting a magnificent new opera house, the Teatro de la Maestranza, right beside the Plaza de Toros.

on October 31, 2016 at 11:21 AM
Future imperfect Future imperfect

This year’s treat was Vittorio Gnecchi’s Cassandra, completed around 1905

on October 11, 2016 at 9:00 AM
One finger exercise One finger exercise

David Lang is, per The New Yorker, a “postminimalist enfant terrible.”

on September 10, 2016 at 12:38 PM
Cuts like a knife Cuts like a knife

You may wonder what Rachmaninoff’s Aleko and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci have in common.

on September 10, 2016 at 12:28 PM
Opera Syria Opera Syria

“The music’s fun, but doesn’t Rossini repeat himself?”

on July 17, 2016 at 4:24 PM
Jersey shore Jersey shore

You don’t often hear the grand operas of Benjamin Britten on smaller stages.

on June 20, 2016 at 11:39 AM
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