Opera

La Calisto

The Baroque opera, Cavalli’s “La Calisto,” is a whimsical mythological drama. Performed at the Juilliard School, it is enchanting, beautifully directed, marvelously sung, and offers excellent acting and dancing. The Juilliard School continues to produce outstanding operas throughout the year showing the extraordinary talent …Read More

Manon Lescaut

We attended the final dress rehearsal of  “Manon Lescaut,” which proved to be Puccini’s first successful opera. It was to have an all-star cast with soprano Kristine Opolais in the lead and tenor Jonas Kaufmann as her lover. Unfortunately, Kaufmann …Read More

Une Éducation Manquée (An Incomplete Education)

The Opera Lafayette and French Institute/Alliance Française organized an evening of elegant and beautiful voices and charming operatic performances that date back to the 19th Century. Inspired by the original 18th-century opera comique these lovely offerings concerned “country matters” such …Read More

Maria Stuarda

The current production of “Maria Stuarda” is a superb one. The staging is great: dramatic, and beautiful. In spite of the fact that Sondra Radvanovsky announced that she had a cold, her singing was flawless and she hit all the …Read More

Maria Stuarda

The production and performance of “Maria Stuarda” at the Met Opera were outstanding! It was announced that Sondra Radvanovsky was suffering from a cold, but she was brilliant in her role and the voice was beautiful. All of the elements of the …Read More

Tosca

The New York City Opera opened once again with their Renaissance performance of “Tosca” at Jazz at Lincoln Center. This beleaguered opera company has tried over the last eight years to resurrect itself at BAM and other venues outside NYC. …Read More

Tosca

The revived NY City Opera got airborne this week after protracted legal negotiations. The creative result – in a perfect Rose Hall (at Jazz at Lincoln Center) – was satisfying. It’s not the Met, but then few admire the Met’s …Read More

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci

The Met is bringing back its new David McVikar production of “Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci,” and we attended the final dress rehearsal. Our candid advice would be to get tickets, skip the “Cav” find out when the “Pag” starts – probably just …Read More

The Pearl Fishers

New Year’s Eve could not have been more captivating, alluring and satisfying than spending it with “The Pearl Fishers” at the Metropolitan Opera. From the first moment of oyster divers bubbling and breathing their way up and down the entire …Read More

The Pearl Fishers

The first production of “The Pearl Fishers” at the Met in 100 years opens with the pearl fishers, diving from the top of the proscenium arch almost to stage/ocean bottom. They are amazingly graceful. Tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz …Read More

La Donna Del Lago

I learned to love opera from the sidelines: watching the drama unfold onstage, in the orchestra pit, and backstage (where the real drama occurs). That is to say I’ve seen chorus members fall off a raked stage, a maestro crack …Read More

Lulu Live in HD

We made it through half of “Lulu” yesterday — at a Live in HD theatre. Marlis Petersen is unbelievable — better than the great reviews. The William Kentridge production is brilliant. The story is fascinating — worthy of opera. The …Read More

Un Ballo in Maschera

If you can go, go. Great opera for beginners. World-beating cast. It has my favorite baritone, Dimitri Hvorostovsky; my new favorite tenor, Piotr Beczala; and the soprano, Sondra Radvanovsky, who will be singing all three of Donizetti’s queens next year …Read More

Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci

Let’s please stop picking on Peter Gelb. Music aficionados may disagree, but the audience loved the new David McVicar productions of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” at the Met. Our music-knowledgeable seatmates gave an enthusiastic thumbs up as we left. The …Read More

Ernani

OK, Placido Domingo is past his prime. And Angela Meade is more than a bit over her playing weight. But she sang the role of Elvira like an angel. The Ukranian bass Dmitry Belosselskiy as the Spanish grandee Silva and …Read More

Lucia di Lammermoor

Although it starts slowly, it certainly builds up to a dramatic and moving crescendo. The cast was quite good although Albina Shagimuratova, who has a beautiful voice, is probably one of the more hefty Lucias, and is not nearly the …Read More

Carmen

There is so much to enjoy about the music of Carmen, and the Met production has sexed it up quite a bit in the first half giving the audience a moment to gasp, and plenty of dancing to enjoy. We …Read More

Carmen

  I love “Carmen.” I heard it earlier this season at the Met. Pretty good. But then I was told this great Don Jose, Kaufmann, was going to be singing last Wednesday, and again March 7 matinee. I went. He …Read More

La Donna del Lago

  There is a reason “seldom performed operas” are seldom performed operas. Rossini’s early opera “La Donna del Lago” is an example. This is not a bel canto jewel, but I give the Met great credit for bringing the opera …Read More

Don Giovanni

As a senior in college, I took a music course in which we we were told by the professor that the three greatest pieces of music ever written were the Bach B Minor mass, Beethoven’s 9th and Don Giovanni — …Read More

La Donna del Lago

On Monday we went to the premiere of the first-ever performance of Rossini’s “La Donna Del Lago.” The opera, derived from a Walter Scott poem, tells the story of Elena (Joyce DiDonato) who is betrothed to Rodrigo (tenor John Osborn) …Read More

Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle

We attended the Met Opera’s double bill — that in the eyes of Polish Director Mariusz Trelinski incorporates a common theme of vision and light. Iolanta is blind, but by the grace of love discovers vision, while Judith, in Bartok’s …Read More

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

I need more than five stars to rate this stylish Bartlett Sher production at the Met. It’s everything opera should be. The lyrical Offenbach score is blessed with a believable cast that acts (and sings) with style and wit –- …Read More

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

  We went to the final dress rehearsal of Offenbach’s classic “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” today. This is our third or fourth “Hoffmann”, and by far the best we’ve seen, the epilogue this time reducing me to tears. It has a …Read More

La Traviata

The stirring performances at the Met Opera, particularly by Marina Rebeka (Violetta), the striking Latvian soprano, ably supported by Quinn Kelsey (the disdainful father of Alfredo) and by Stephen Costello (Alfredo), received a long, sustained standing ovation when the final …Read More

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

  Six hours and ten minutes (including two long intermissions) is enough time to run two full marathons and still catch most of Act III. Meistersinger is a bit of a marathon, if a glorious one. The Prelude by the …Read More

Il Barbiere di Siviglia

We just went to see the Met Opera’s HD broadcast of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. This madcap Rossini enjoys a fine cast headed by Christopher Maltman as Figaro, Lawrence Brownlee as Count Almaviva, Isabel Leonard as Rosina and Maurizio Muraro …Read More

Macbeth, and Le Nozze di Figaro

The season at the Met Opera is off to a strong start. “Macbeth” is not one of Verdi’s most tuneful operas –- deliberately. Verdi wanted Lady Macbeth to be “ugly and evil” with a voice that is “hard, stifled and …Read More

Met Opera on Demand

As of this writing, the Met Opera has reached contract agreement with two of its Big 3 unions (musicians and chorus) and is still negotiating with the third (stagehands). But whatever and whenever the resolution, here is the best news …Read More

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder & Vert Vert

I went to see “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” Saturday on the spur of the moment — it had been recommended. What is interesting is that the Saturday before I was at the Garsington Opera at Wormsley (near …Read More

Letter from London

“Relative Values” Consider this 1951 Noel Coward romp a prequel to “Upstairs Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey.” A lightweight dissertation on class, lifted by classic Cowardisms and Patricia Hodge.   “Bring Up The Bodies” The RSC brings Hillary Mantel’s best-selling Man …Read More

La Cenerentola

The Met Opera season is over, but we were able to catch the last Live in HD performance of this entertaining Rossini opera. It is pure fun, captured perfectly in the simple and (we assume) low-cost Cesare Lievi production. It …Read More

La Cenerentola

Last night’s opening of the Met Opera revival of Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” was pure joy, on at least three counts. First, there are few better entertainments than a well-sung opera by one of bel canto’s big three: Rossini, Bellini, and …Read More

I Puritani

  A Star is Born? Thursday we went to the opening night at the Met of “I Puritani,” Bellini’s. The opera has wonderful music — if a somewhat improbable plot revolving around the Roundheads and the Cavaliers during Cromwellian England. …Read More

Werther

“Werther” at the Metropolitan Opera this season was so fabulous, so beautiful, so exquisitely sung by Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch that we left on a cloud of disbelief that any opera in any age could have transported us so …Read More