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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, the repentant Puritan—that is, he repented that his family had once been Puritans—describes the voice of Rappaccini’s Daughter, Beatrice, as “rich as a tropical sunset, … which made Giovanni, though he knew not why, think of deep hues of purple or crimson and of perfumes heavily delectable.”
Morningside Opera’s ¡Figaro! (90210) is a staging/translation (into English, Spanish, et al.) of Le Nozze as if in contemporary Beverly Hills (as if!), and it’s playing at the NSD Theater on Bank Street near the Meatpacking District through next Sunday.
Love grand opera but wary of a six o’clock curtain with five hours of music behind it? (And nothing is grander than Berlioz’s Les Troyens, eh?) Your dilemma has been solved. Show up at the Met at 7:30 or 8:00, whenever they have the first intermission.
Italo Montemezzi’s La Nave, premiered in 1918 and not performed anywhere since 1938, concerns itself with nautical power, male and female archetypes, love and hate conjoined, sex and death, the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire — and the visionary future of Old Venice.
At the age of thirty, Donizetti was already the experienced composer of about eighteen operas, both serious and farcical, but as Olivo e Pasquale (currently undergoing its American premiere run at Amore Opera) makes clear, the comic works were no slight matter.