Patrick Clement James

Patrick Clement James is a writer and teacher based in New York City. His love of opera began in high school, leading to studies in vocal performance at the Manhattan School of Music. He currently studies English literature as a Ph.D. student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and he teaches at Brooklyn College. As a writer, he is particularly interested in the ways that opera participates in the larger contexts of history and culture.

Like a prayer Like a prayer

It was quite a pleasure—a privilege, really—to see John Dexter’s legendary production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites.

on May 04, 2019 at 11:49 AM
Jest you, jest me Jest you, jest me

Friday night’s Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera revealed once again a predictable dissonance between the performances on stage and Michael Mayer’s production.

on April 28, 2019 at 11:30 AM
Strangers in the night Strangers in the night

One needs liberty in order to be a libertine.

on April 05, 2019 at 1:45 PM
Oh my goddess! Oh my goddess!

Die Walküre crystallizes the cycle’s questions, ideas, and stakes.

on March 26, 2019 at 3:06 PM
Domino theory Domino theory

The Metropolitan Opera delivers on the promise of Wagner’s Gesamtkunswerk in a revival of Robert Lepage’s Ring.

on March 10, 2019 at 1:35 PM
Exactly the kind of boy he had always wanted to be Exactly the kind of boy he had always wanted to be

UrbanArias’ recording of Paul’s Case is an antidote to the intellectual pretensions that regularly drag contemporary opera performance toward tediousness and boredom.

on February 09, 2019 at 11:03 AM
Skeleton key Skeleton key

Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle both use themes of vision and revelation to ask compelling questions about knowledge, responsibility, and gender. 

on January 25, 2019 at 1:07 PM
Discomfort zone Discomfort zone

Roberto Alagna’s physical and vocal embodiment of Don José lent his particular narrative a complication I hadn’t anticipated.

on January 10, 2019 at 11:08 AM
Shrieking violet Shrieking violet

Diana Damrau‘s performance as Violetta was the work of a very ordinary artist, one susceptible to vocal flubs, poor intonation, and an all too banal approach operatic performance.

on December 06, 2018 at 9:11 AM
War horses War horses

The proceedings took the virtue of longevity too much to heart; the night stretched on interminably. 

on November 24, 2018 at 1:55 PM
Atonement Atonement

Sondra Radvanovsky changed my opinion of her through a single performance—I’ll never think of her the same way again; the power of her singing overwhelmed my previous impressions.

on October 27, 2018 at 12:37 PM
Bland date Bland date

With a program of Schumann, Wagner, Ravel and de Falla, mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca and pianist Kevin Murphy delivered a underdone performance at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday night.

on October 25, 2018 at 9:00 AM
American beauty American beauty

It’s surprising to read that, as of this writing, La fanciulla del west has only had 105 performances at the Metropolitan Opera.

on October 05, 2018 at 1:14 PM
Mortal raises veil from before goddess’s face Mortal raises veil from before goddess’s face

Anna Netrebko is the greatest performing artist singing opera today. Nobody else comes close; she makes me love her in a way that verges on the erotic.

on September 27, 2018 at 12:37 PM
Painful progress Painful progress

Many lessons surface in Tony Kushner’s epic Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.

on June 08, 2018 at 9:13 AM
Speaking ill of the dead Speaking ill of the dead

Plácido Domingo’s conducting reduced the score’s urgency to the lethargy of a jellyfish.

on April 25, 2018 at 10:21 AM
The perfect use of an imperfect medium The perfect use of an imperfect medium

Carousel is receiving a Broadway revival in a simple, cautious production that still manages to pack an emotional wallop.

on April 19, 2018 at 2:43 PM
I want magic I want magic

Why, only now, Cendrillon is having its premiere at the Met is a puzzling question.

on April 13, 2018 at 2:41 PM
Cabal me by your name Cabal me by your name

It’s fortunate that the Met’s production of Luisa Miller featured the incomparable Piotr Beczala in the role of Rodolfo.

on March 31, 2018 at 5:45 PM
Italian dressing Italian dressing

Lucia di Lammermoor, a bloody story of a young woman’s mental degeneracy amidst feuding families, remains Donizetti’s most popular exploration of the landscape and culture of Britain.

on March 23, 2018 at 11:58 AM
The help The help

As Despina in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Così fan tutte, Kelli O’Hara injects much needed vitality into an otherwise lethargic evening.

on March 16, 2018 at 5:54 PM
Surfacing: an appreciation in 20 fragments Surfacing: an appreciation in 20 fragments

I struggle to articulate the notion of an erotics of art.

on February 20, 2018 at 12:01 PM
Technical difficulties Technical difficulties

La bohéme returned to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera once again last night (does it ever leave?)

on February 17, 2018 at 3:37 PM
Placebo effect Placebo effect

Good singing and a dramatically potent (if conservative) production were an unbeatable combination in the Metropolitan Opera’s season premiere of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore. 

on January 18, 2018 at 12:21 PM