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.


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
Gold school Gold school

The name Joseph Rumshinsky might ring a bell (or a shofar).

on December 14, 2015 at 11:37 AM
Who’s that girl? Who’s that girl?

Diana Damrau is a great flirt.

on December 09, 2015 at 8:00 AM
To harness song to human tragedy To harness song to human tragedy

LoftOpera gives performances of exceptional musical and theatrical polish in offbeat corners of Brooklyn.

on December 06, 2015 at 2:00 PM
Humans of old Madrid Humans of old Madrid

Bare Opera, the feisty little company that gave Debussy’s exquisite L’Enfant Prodigue in Chelsea last spring, is now operating in chic, rundown Bushwick where so many original enterprises sprout.

on November 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress” “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”

In New York, tradition insists, there are no limits to where a preposterous idea, talent and relentless determination will take you, in defiance of all the odds.

on November 09, 2015 at 10:00 AM
Multicolored Multicolored

Polish singers are chameleons. They have to be.

on November 05, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Outer Burroughs Outer Burroughs

New York is different now, and John Zorn has this hangout, The Stone, on Avenue C (you heard me) at Second Street, a performance space the size of a largeish dorm room.

on October 19, 2015 at 1:19 PM
Inappropriately touching Inappropriately touching

“Operatic” generally refers to sung drama, but there is another meaning of that term: grandiose, outsize, hysterical.

on October 11, 2015 at 9:00 AM
Beyond the blue horizon Beyond the blue horizon

Besides the heavens and a sweater in The Devil Wears Prada, it is the hue of Hibla Gerzmava’s soprano, in contrast to the red or rose or red-orange voices of most sopranos.

on October 09, 2015 at 12:56 PM
Bushwick leagues Bushwick leagues

LoftOpera is just one, though perhaps the liveliest, of many homegrown opera troupes in Brooklyn.

on September 27, 2015 at 1:45 PM
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