In Review

In Review Stage Reviews
Juilliard Opera 2017-18 Review – La Finta Giardiniera: Mozart Comedy Gets Remarkable Production With Rising Stars
Despite fall’s chill blanketing Manhattan, opera-goers are delighting in the light-hearted comedy in Juilliard’s production of Mozart’s "La Finta Giardiniera." Composed when he was just shy of turning 19, Mozart indulges in the fiery emotions that stir a garden party, gathered at the house of a small-town mayor. The opening scene reels in the listener while two maids whisper about the mayor acquiring a new and suspicious gardener, Sandrina. She…
In Review Stage Reviews
Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Madama Butterfly: Hui He Leads Classic Anthony Minghella Production In Memorable Night
The beauty of Puccini’s "Madama Butterfly" could render any critique almost unseemly. After all, to hear that seamless music, the moments that turn transcendent -- and then to cavil? I’d suggest that even a modest performance, say, even in the dense rainforest (echoing, of course, Werner Herzog’s "Ftizcarraldo") would still, inevitably, move one. The score simply flows, with audience and performers swept along in the touching tragedy. Which brings us to…
In Review
San Francisco Opera 2017-18 Review – Turandot: Exquisite Nina Stemme, Leah Crocetto, Brian Jagde Lead Socially Relevant Interpretation of Puccini Masterwork
To wait for one whole act, plus a quarter of a second, just to glimpse the heroine, let alone hear her, is practically a crime. Especially, with all the talk. From the moment the curtain rises, what do we hear? Turandot, Turandot, Turandot. And so, where is she? On and on, troops of "the people" - boy chorus, various authorities dressed in fantastic colorful garb, ministers of ranks we never…
In Review Stage Reviews
Regina Opera 2017-18 Review – La Traviata: Company Opens With A True and Tender Production
Brooklyn’s Regina Opera company has kicked off its 2017-18 season with Verdi’s timeless “La Traviata.” As befitting a company entering its 48th season, its knowledge and execution of the work well-reflected the experience of the cast and crew. The rather-limited stage of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy was used to great effect as the faces flooded on and off as needed. Moments of privacy or intimacy felt as…
DVD and CD Reviews In Review
‘Mozart’ CD Review: Juan Diego Flórez and Conductor Riccardo Minasi Deliver Magical Mozart Experience
As he moves into heavier repertoire, one composer has been rather absent from the repertoire of Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez – Mozart. Listening to him dominate the bel canto repertoire, it has always been of great interest to hear this brilliant and polished singing actor take a stab at a composer equally noted for his polish and finesse. The tenor has taken a few forays into the work of…
In Review Stage Reviews
New Orleans Opera 2017-18 Review – Orpheus in the Underworld: Laughs Aplenty in Offenbach’s Satire That Spares Nobody
It’s always a welcome sight when companies stage works that are underappreciated and lesser known. It’s also risky because such unfamiliarity can result in smaller audiences who would be more willing to come out for works that are more recognizable. With that in mind, it was admirable for New Orleans Opera to present Jacques Offenbach’s "Orpheus in the Underworld" last weekend. Offenbach’s opera bouffe was considered a scandal to the…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opéra de Montreal 2017-18 Review – La Cenerentola: Solid Cast Creates Memorable Experience With Rossini Masterpiece
I will kick off this review by noting that it was the first time I had ever seen "Cenerentola" and I was charmed.  It was a magical evening, with great music, excellent singing and loads of comedy and stage business. It began with a fine rendering of the overture by the Orchestre Metropolitan conducted by the Spanish conductor Jose Miguel Perez-Sierra. He was fully in charge of the musicians, who played…
In Review Stage Reviews
Virginia Opera 2017-18 Review – La Fanciulla Del West: Baritone Mark Walters Leads Promising Cast in Triumphant Interpretation of Puccini Classic
A wise man of opera once said in my hearing, testifying to the enduring emotional impact of Puccini: “When I no longer cry at ‘Boheme,’ I quit.” The same should be said of “La Fanciulla del West,” from “Ch’ella mi creda” to the end - and so it is with Lillian Groag’s production that opened on Nov. 10 at the Virginia Opera in Norfolk, with performances to come through Dec.…
DVD and CD Reviews In Review
Dreams CD Review: Pretty Yende Offers Virtuosic Power In Second Album
Pretty Yende has become one of the world's most sought-after singers for her energetic and positive stage presence. Her Cinderella story is widely recognized and her performances have become must-see events. Having dominated the world's greatest stages and released her first album "A Journey," Yende now brings audiences a taste of what is to come in her second album "Dreams." Like her first album, which explored her career path from significant and meaningful…
In Review Stage Reviews
Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Thaïs: Ailyn Pérez & Gerald Finley Must Be Heard In Gorgeous Revival of Massenet Masterpiece
“The voice must be heard.” For the last two years, this has been the calling card for the Metropolitan Opera’s marketing department, a call to just come and listen to opera as it is intended to be. An invitation to experience something that can’t be experienced anywhere. For many, that tagline has been particularly emblematic of the vocal wizardry that has been apparent throughout the first moments of the 2017-18…