Santosh Venkataraman

High Notes
Opera America Conference 2018: No Easy Answers Regarding Race and the World of Opera
Race and ethnicity continue to vex the opera world in the same manner as they do the rest of society. If events at last week’s Opera America Conference are indicative of the industry, it’s a topic that requires further discussion at future conferences with no easy answers in sight. There were no fewer than five panels related to race and ethnicity this year, including one entitled “Recognizing and Undoing Racism”…
In Review
Opera Theatre of St. Louis 2018 Review – Orfeo and Euridice: Johnson Cano Stellar in Probing Gluck’s Mythical Vision of Love
It has been a particularly heavy season at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, with an absolutely splendid run of Marc Blitzstein’s “Regina” and the emotionally-charged world premiere of Huang Ruo’s “An American Soldier.” It was thus welcome that the final production to debut this season, Gluck’s “Orfeo and Euridice,” provided an uplifting ending. This production by director Ron Daniels, though sprinkled with some peculiarities, was a delightful version full of…
High Notes
Opera America Conference 2018: What Opera Companies Can Do to Confront Sexual Harassment and Abuse
The opera world has been rocked by the sexual abuse scandal at the Metropolitan Opera centering around maestro James Levine. The topic was confronted head on at Opera Conference 2018 hosted by OPERA America in a panel titled “Confronting Sexual Harassment, Abuse and Assault” that tackled these issues that have unfortunately become much too pertinent in the opera world. The discussion was led by Washington University of St. Louis professor…
High Notes
Opera America Conference 2018: Star Soprano-Turned-Director Patricia Racette Leads Discussion On Career Transitions
Over the next few days, Santosh Venkataraman will be attending the Opera America Conference from St. Louis, providing us with in-depth coverage of some of the major events. Stay tuned! Patricia Racette recalled an email she got after the announcement was made that she would be making her directorial debut at Opera Theatre of St. Louis this summer with La Traviata. It wasn’t exactly a note of thanks or many…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opera Theatre of St. Louis 2018 Review – An American Soldier: A Moving Tribute To The Distressing Death of Private Danny Chen
There is only one point in which the character of Private Danny Chen leaves the stage in composer Huang Ruo and librettist David Henry Hwang’s “An American Soldier,” seen in its world premiere this past weekend at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. It is near the end when the soldier dies and his final words when alive are as such: "Who is on my side? Who are my enemies? I’m an…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opera Theatre of St. Louis 2018 Review – Regina: Scheming Susan Graham Stars in Masterful Production of Blitzstein’s Drama
It is easy to see why Marc Blitzstein’s “Regina” is rarely performed.  It’s a demanding work that tackles issues of greed, race relations and other seedy elements of humanity head-on while fusing many musical styles that make it hard to characterize. Because there are so many elements to this opera that includes 10 major characters, it is difficult to mount and probably not suited for many companies.  Opera Theatre of…
In Review Stage Reviews
Komische Oper Berlin 2017-18 Review – Eugene Onegin: Barrie Kosky’s Rendition of Tchaikovsky Masterwork Destined to Be Remembered Forever
The Komische Oper in Berlin has soared in reputation under the leadership of Barrie Kosky for its innovative programming.  It is regarded as the destination in town for rarely-performed opera works. Scheduling an opera trip in Berlin is full of challenges and my maiden journey to the Komische was for the altogether familiar "Eugene Onegin" by Tchaikovsky on Saturday night and it was a winner on all counts.  This co-production…
In Review Stage Reviews
Deutsche Oper Berlin 2017-18 Review – Rigoletto: Zeljko Lucic To The Rescue In Muddled Jan Bosse Production
The Deutsche Oper Berlin had a problem for its final presentation of "Rigoletto" on Thursday night. The baritone Markus Bruck was forced to cancel around noon that day from his scheduled appearance in the title role. Fortunately, the company had a tremendous solution at hand. The Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic was available since he was present to perform in "Nabucco" later over the weekend. And it was Lucic who saved…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opera Omaha ONE Festival 2017-18 Review: ‘Medea’ and Contemporary Ideas Combine for Intriguing Overall Concept
Opera Omaha was handed a dilemma in its inaugural ONE Festival when it was forced to replace the title role in Fiona Shaw’s version of “Medea,” a co-production with the Wexford Festival Opera, due to illness less than three weeks before the show. The solution was inelegant but probably the best that could be mustered under the circumstances with an unusual bit of double casting.  Soprano Jessica Stavros sang the…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opera Omaha 2017-18 Review – Proving Up: Mazzoli and Vavrek Masterfully Explore Migration Hardship in the Heartland
Is there a better way to spend an opera festival in Nebraska than to see an opera set in Nebraska?  My weekend at the inaugural ONE Festival presented by Opera Omaha was highlighted by seeing the brand-new "Proving Up" by the dynamic duo of Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek on two occasions. The opera is based on the short story of the same name by Karen Russell and finds…