James Jorden (who writes under the names "La Cieca" and "Our Own JJ") is the founder and editor of parterre box. During his 20 year career as an opera critic he has written for the New York Times, Opera, Gay City News, Opera Now, Musical America and the New York Post. He has also raised his voice in punditry on National Public Radio. From time to time he has directed opera, including three unsuccessful productions of Don Giovanni, a work he hopes to return to someday. Currently he alternates his doyenne duties with writing a weekly column on opera for the New York Observer.
Giovanni Pacini’s 1827 opera, revived for the first time since the 19th century.
“Gabriela Lena Frank‘s score for Frida y Diego was nothing short of extraordinary, at times recalling Béla Bartók (in her treatment for climaxes) or Giacomo Puccini (in her handling of choruses), but the musical idioms were certainly her own. I particularly mesmerized by many instrumental solos peppered throughout the score (most particularly the bassoon and violin solos), and Frank used such device to define the characters, almost in a way of leitmotif.”
“One consistent feature was a tendency across the cast to tip from recitative into aria with no pause for breath or thought. The effect was almost naturalistic—if such a thing were possible in opera—and was just one example of the many ways in which the night’s music felt fresh, even urgent.”