Cher Public

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.

Shrieking violet

When Diana Damrau debuted at the Metropolitan Opera as Zerbinetta in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, her silvery instrument seemed inexhaustible.  Gorgeous! Youthful! She could do anything with that athletic, vibrant sound.  Read more »

War horses

With a performance of Il Trittico that showed every instant of its age, the Met celebrated both the centennial of the opera’s premiere at the house and Plácido Domingo’s 50th season with the company. Perhaps in the spirit of the latter honoree, the proceedings took the virtue of longevity too much to heart; the night stretched on interminably.  Read more »


As readers of parterre box may know, I am not inclined to write sympathetically of Sondra Radvanovsky. I have found her voice tinny, ugly, and often unhinged and intractable. And in a recent review of Aida at the Met, I compared her unfavorably to Anna Netrebko.  Read more »

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.

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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.

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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.

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Painful progress

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

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Speaking ill of the dead

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

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