The Exterminating Angel

It’s not that I’m anti-modern opera. It’s just that so much of it forces me to sacrifice the many musical pleasures that I normally receive from, shall I say, more traditional works. As to contemporary opera, one of my all-time …Read More

Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)

We attended Bart Sher’s production at the Met Opera last night. We’ve seen this version several times before, but we’d gladly return this evening. It’s that entertaining. The casts and conductors may change from year to year, but the gorgeous, …Read More

The Magic Flute

James Levine conducting. Great singers singing, in every part. Evil Queen was unreal. The Met… I go to operas in other cities. I heard “Rigoletto” in SF a month or so back. Very good, but the Duke couldn’t fill the …Read More


Peter Gelb chose to open the season with “Norma,” a riveting drama about a Druid Priestess and her forbidden lover. The audience was transfixed throughout with both the beauty of the singing and suspense of the plot, which took place …Read More

Der Rosenkavalier

Renée Fleming may indeed be leaving operatic roles forever… or maybe not. Her “swansong” in “Der Rosenkavalier” at a Gala Met performance gave her and all her colleagues in their various roles ample opportunity to show their medals. And well …Read More

The Flying Dutchman

After the curtain came down at the Met on the season premiere of Wagner’s stirring sea story, “The Flying Dutchman,” the entire orchestra pelted conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with dozens of roses. Boy, did he deserve it – after two and …Read More

Eugene Onegin

Russia was everywhere in this beautiful Met Opera co-production with the English National Opera – in the largely Russian cast, in joyous energetic Russian folk dances, in evocative scrims of the Russian countryside, in familiar music by someone named Pyotr …Read More

Roméo et Juliette

This is definitely the year for romance, and “Roméo and Juliette” are everywhere… Ballet and Opera for sure. We had the opportunity to see Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo on New Year’s Eve, and I wrote about how beautiful and …Read More

I Puritani

Vincenzo Bellini created “I Puritani” in 1835, but of course because the theme is love, requited and reborn, it is never out of favor. The Met this year reinstituted this beautiful work of art with authentic backdrops: steps, gardens, walls …Read More

La Traviata

“La Traviata” is back at The Met, and we think that opera lovers and everyone else should go! Now, being fair, I think that “La Traviata” is not only one of Verdi’s greatest achievements, but one of the greatest of …Read More

I Puritani

This is an opera where, unlike with “Tosca,” “La Boheme,” “La Traviata,” “Carmen,” “Rigoletto” and “Madame Butterfly,” you don’t come out humming an aria — one of my unsophisticated criteria for grand opera. Notwithstanding, it was an opportunity last night …Read More

I Puritani

Saw “I Puritani” last night. Old tired production, but Diana Damrau and Javier Camarena and Bellini’s music made it one of the more exciting visits to the Met Opera in a long time. Only one more opportunity to see them …Read More

Written on Skin

This is a modern-day version of a tale written in the age of Courtly Love (the 13th Century). “Written on Skin” by George Benjamin, with text by Martin Crimp, is told in opera form and was performed at the Royal …Read More


This entire opera belonged to Patricia Racette as the princess of Judea — her voice, her strength, her dramatic abilities, her “way of going” in spite of the difficult stagecraft, unfortunate sets and other incongruities. Over 100 minutes of dramatic …Read More


I think we’ve seen every production since the original of this sophisticated Bernstein-Sondheim operatic spoof of Voltaire’s philosophic message: “This is the best in this best of all possible worlds.” The current New York City Opera revival, directed by Harold …Read More


The first team is back in town, and they’re not alone. James Levine commanded the thunderous Met Orchestra with precision, matched by Donald Palumbo’s great chorus. Placido Domingo defied age as a vigorous King Nabucco. But the star of the …Read More

Roméo et Juliette

There are many ways to spend New Year’s Eve, but for us the Opera is both spiritually rewarding and an artistic adventure. “The Merry Widow” with Renee Fleming one year, “The Pearl Fishers” with Diana Damrau the next, and THIS …Read More

Der Rosenkavalier

There are some operas that have a meaning for us far beyond their plot, the music, the composer, his librettist, the times, the place, the history. “Der Rosenkavalier” is one that has resonance for all of us. More than anything …Read More


This is truly an historic production, with James Levine at the conductor’s podium and Placido Domingo in the role of Nabucco. For those who do not know the story, it actually ends happily, so stay until the end. In the …Read More


I very rarely go to the opera, so “Salome” at the Metropolitan Opera was a great treat. I saw a 2003 reading of Oscar Wilde’s play on Broadway, so I knew the story of Salome’s boredom with her life in general, …Read More

La Bohème

Yes, you’ll cry. Your senses and sentimentality will be torn asunder by this Met Opera production. But you will experience a reawakening of your humanity (even after dinner) that is seldom achieved in a theater seat. THIS “La Bohème” is …Read More

Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House

This is the story of a young impressionable girl who has a bit of a thing for riches and sex — a common theme in opera. From an early age she is attracted to wealth, power and male attention that …Read More

Il Ritorno d’Ulisse

I saw “Il Ritorno d’Ulisse” last week, and found it absolutely extraordinary. It was part of Lincoln Center’s White Lights Festival, with music by Claudio Monteverdi, the libretto after Homer, and with William Kentridge as director. Also taking major parts: …Read More

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

The big question presented in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” is: What is the deepest wish of the poet, the artist? Is it to have it both ways: success in the material world with all its public demands, and/or emotional fulfillment, i.e., …Read More


What is memory? What is real and what is merely imagined? What distinguishes the difference between the two? Is it what we believe to be true? These are the questions at the root of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet, “Anastasia,” at the Royal …Read More

Tristan and Isolde

First disclosure: “Tristan und Isolde” is not my favorite Wagnerian opera — all of that gorgeous, shimmering, chromatic music put in the service of a story about ill-starred lovers that groans beneath the weight of mysticism piled atop it. Second …Read More


Antonio Pappano is a maestro extraordinaire and his conducting of “Norma” by Bellini at the Royal Opera House on October 4 was masterful. The story of “Norma” is a bit complicated. It is an amalgam of romantic elements, religiosity, war, …Read More

L’Italiana in Algeri

Last night’s seasonal premiere at the Met of Rossini’s “L’Italiana in Algeri” was great fun. It was opera buffa created by the master of the genre, even though the master himself was a mere 21 when he composed the opera …Read More


Plácido Domingo is one of the world’s greatest musicians, singers (whether baritone now, or tenor then) and humanists. Having followed his career trajectory for decades it is safe to say that last night’s performance in “Nabucco” in the lead role …Read More


Last night my husband Charles and I attended the latest Royal Opera House production of “Tannhäuser.” Now we all know the overture…Ta da da da da da da dadada da duh…..etc. As the curtain rose, we see seated on the stage …Read More

Les Fêtes Vénitiennes

William Christie and Les Art Florissants are back in Brooklyn this weekend with an exquisite and entertaining production of Les Fêtes Vénitiennes at BAM. A long outmoded form of opera-ballet has been revived, embellished and updated in this marvelous production. …Read More

Roberto Devereux

Donizetti, ever the romantic, may have fictionalized a liaison between Queen Elizabeth and her courtier, Robert Devereux, (second) Earl of Essex, but he took his theme to the thousandth power! This opera, the third in a trilogy of the Tudor …Read More

De Materie

A great number of words and huge photographs in the media, devoted to critiques of this extraordinarily creative “cultural stew,” have concentrated on the venue, The Park Avenue Armory. The enveloping size, the deft handling of the space and the …Read More

De Materie

So we went to see the sheep. “De Materie” (Matter in Dutch) is a very contemporary opera written in around 1990 by Heinrich Goebbels. In fact, it is not an opera in our sense of opera – singers interacting on …Read More

Boris Godunov

The world of opera is unique. For some it is an acquired taste; to others something lengthy and loaded with absurdities. And then there are those of us who attend as if acolytes of a religion. Last night’s performance of …Read More