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.


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
Ezio said than done Ezio said than done

Ezio was an inspired choice for Boston’s feisty Odyssey Opera to open its “When In Rome” festival.

on June 08, 2016 at 10:00 AM
“This is the very ecstasy of love” “This is the very ecstasy of love”

The grand illusion is that we know it all. From four hundred years of opera, we’ve distilled the worthy survivors.

on May 18, 2016 at 12:55 PM
Live and empoisoned Live and empoisoned

In how many operas does the heroine drink poison and then go lengthily mad?

on May 13, 2016 at 8:49 AM
Another man’s Persian Another man’s Persian

The seventeenth-century works of Francisco Cavalli may be easier for modern audiences to accept.

on May 02, 2016 at 11:38 AM
Il giocondo Il giocondo

With six leads in Gioconda, you can reliably hope that three or four will be worth listening to, or why would they have revived the opera?

on April 21, 2016 at 3:41 PM
In harem’s way In harem’s way

Othello in the Seraglio is the rather unfortunate title bestowed by the ensemble Dünya on its “coffeehouse opera,” ossia The Tragedy of Sümbül the Black Eunuch.

on April 11, 2016 at 11:39 AM
Donizetti, lionized Donizetti, lionized

Just when you thought it was safe to return to Rossini and Verdi—blam!

on March 18, 2016 at 10:00 AM
French tickler French tickler

The concert presented by Opera Lafayette at the Alliance Française last Friday and Saturday was devoted to music of witty, short-lived Emmanuel Chabrier, notably Une Éducation Manquée.

on February 11, 2016 at 9:00 AM
I don’t sleep, I dream I don’t sleep, I dream

Bellini blossomed over us like a love fest.

on February 10, 2016 at 12:42 PM
Flying too high with some guy in the sky Flying too high with some guy in the sky

If only—if only half the creativity and spectacle that Encompass New Opera Theatre has lavished on its lively production of The Astronaut’s Tale (at the BAM Fisher through Sunday) had been expended on the pretentious libretto by the late Jack Larsonand the quirky, unappealing score by Charles Fussell…

on January 30, 2016 at 12:20 PM
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