Cher Public

“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up”

As I sat watching Washington National Opera’s predictably acceptable season-closing production of Tosca with a friend (following a dinner at which an evaluation of the recent, Camp-themed Met Gala and the essay that inspired it was the dominant topic of conversation), it dawned on me why I have never been truly gripped by this ubiquitous piece my “Musical Dramaturgy” professor in Bologna called the “pinnacle of Italian melodrama”: Tosca, as it exists now, can’t be real, spontaneous drama–it’s just Camp.  Read more »

Turning over an old leaf

When you think about it, is there any opera that can take more of a beating while still making an impact, or, for that matter, a point, than Eugene OneginRead more »

Christmas past imperfect

The Christmas truce in 1914, an impromptu and unofficial laying down of arms in favor of camaraderie between soldiers on both sides (or several sides) of the Great War, was an actual event or series of small events, but it is also a myth, real events given magnitude and coherence by repetition and artistic gloss.  Read more »

Home run

Rosina’s Turn

WNO’s season has been uneven at best with some outstanding performances in memory (Proving Up, Eric Owens and Melody Moore in Don Carlo, Tamara Wilson in Aïda) and others that fell flat. I expected the valedictory production of the 2017-18 season, The Barber of Seville, to be reflective of that unevenness, but it instead turned out to be the most overall solid production of the year and even a bit of old-fashioned fun.  Read more »

Give ’em Hellman

I mean, how often does one get to hear Bernstein’s gorgeous, rollicking, and varied score nursed by a full orchestra and the artistic resources of an opera company?

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Family values

A regular day in 2018 Washington, D.C., or Verdi’s Don Carlo?

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Little house on the scary

Out of a literal perforation in the horizon of the Nebraskan prairie emerges Proving Up, the most convincing case I have ever seen for modern American opera.

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Tales of the Bavarian baloney pony

In November, everyone wanted to hear more about Jonas Kaufmann‘s Johnson.

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