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.


Down in the depths on the ninetieth floor Down in the depths on the ninetieth floor

Teatro Grattacielo is New York’s homegrown organization to rescue Verismo operas from oblivion, one per annum, allowing for the occasional double bill.

on November 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM
He’ll take Manhattan He’ll take Manhattan

Purchase of Manhattan was given its world premiere on Thursday evening at the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue.

on November 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM
To the vixen belongs the spa To the vixen belongs the spa

A production as delectable as the current one (through Sunday) at the Juilliard Opera will make you wonder why Il Turco is not as well known as L’Italiana, Il Barbiere, La Cenerentola, even the odd and occasional Il Viaggio a Rheims.

on November 20, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Words to the heat of deeds to Colbran gives Words to the heat of deeds to Colbran gives

A young friend messaged me to ask if I knew Rossini’s Macbeth.

on November 17, 2014 at 1:21 PM
Anger’s aweigh Anger’s aweigh

It was a night a-tingle with excitement at the Metropolitan Opera House.

on October 22, 2014 at 3:20 AM
Martinu, very dry Martinu, very dry

Gotham Chamber Opera, which began to operate twelve years ago with a double bill of Bohuslav Martinu’s quirky little pieces, opened its 2014-15 season with two more, Alexandre bis (Alexander, twice) and Comedy on the Bridge.

on October 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM
Sweet prince Sweet prince

The rediscovery of Franco Faccio’s Amleto, a curious score that last week, via Baltimore Concert Opera, received its first performances since 1871, reminds us just how tough an act Giuseppe Verdi was to follow.

on October 07, 2014 at 8:00 AM
About last night About last night

For those who like their Handel loud, with no forfeit of baroque finesse, one promising solution is to make the hall smaller.

on September 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM
In Bruges In Bruges

They say that Boston, despite many cultural distinctions, ain’t no opera town, and for some decades—generations?—this has been true. But tides of change will break, even on the shores of the Hub.

on September 16, 2014 at 8:20 AM
Outskirts Outskirts

As One is an opera about a boy growing up to discover that he is a girl.

on September 05, 2014 at 1:33 PM
Great shakes Great shakes

The little opera companies of New York are like chanterelles.

on August 22, 2014 at 11:08 AM
The curse of drink The curse of drink

Two operas both alike in dignity, set in dimly lit Renaissance towns ruled by seething, conspiratorial courts.

on July 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM
Indian summer Indian summer

“Who will dare dance with me the ancient Dagger-Dance of the Californians?”

on July 14, 2014 at 7:08 PM
The Night They Raided Rimsky’s The Night They Raided Rimsky’s

Opera-lovers who attend too much modern opera may find that it feels like duty.

on July 13, 2014 at 12:06 PM
Notes on camp Notes on camp

Zofia Posmysz spent two years as a prisoner in Auschwitz—and she’s still alive and standing pretty tall, in New York for the Lincoln Center Festival God bless her.

on July 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM
And Hanson is as Hanson did it, too! And Hanson is as Hanson did it, too!

Think of it as the anti-Puritani.

on May 08, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Haydn in plain sight Haydn in plain sight

The operas of Franz Josef Haydn are seldom presented in the great opera houses of the world, but then, they weren’t composed for the great opera houses of his own world.

on May 01, 2014 at 10:10 PM
A dream deferred A dream deferred

Andris Nelsons led the Vienna Philharmonic in a performance of Salome that provided just the sort of thing one hopes for in a concert performance of an overflowingly rich operatic score.

on March 02, 2014 at 4:43 AM
Whispers and cries Whispers and cries

We were not at Carnegie Hall to hear superb opera singers bestow their vocalism upon Alban Berg’s Wozzeck; we are there to hear the Wiener Staatsoper’s house band work their magic upon an intricate, spooky, devastating score.

on March 01, 2014 at 5:58 PM
A sense of occasion A sense of occasion

On February 29, 1812 (thanks to Pope Gregory’s calendrical reforms), Gioachino Rossini celebrated his fourth birthday.

on February 24, 2014 at 11:54 PM
Billy’s club Billy’s club

When Winston Churchill was First Sea Lord, the story goes, an indignant admiral accused him of violating British naval tradition, to which Churchill replied that the only traditions of the British Navy were rum, sodomy and the lash.

on February 10, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Orpheus goes downtown Orpheus goes downtown

Marc-Antoine Charpentier came along at the wrong time for a composer of French opera.

on January 02, 2014 at 2:20 PM
Golden oldie Golden oldie

Eight hundred years ago, the “youth of Beauvais” in the north of France created a sacred festival “play,” Ludus Danieli (ludus—meaning a sacred event? a performance? a game? a joke?) for the annual Fool’s Night on January 1 at the cathedral.

on December 30, 2013 at 8:35 AM
Light my foyer Light my foyer

Each year, Leon Botstein leads the American Symphony Orchestra in a concert opera or two.

on December 16, 2013 at 5:12 PM
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