Stage Reviews

In Review Stage Reviews
Teatro Filharmonico Verona 2017-18 Review – Manon Lescaut: Soprano Amarilli Nizza Overcomes Illness in Graham Vick’s Insightful Reading of Puccini Classic
Graham Vick having already produced “Manon Lescaut” in a traditional manner, a production with which he admitted to being less than pleased with, decided to take a fundamentally different approach for this production at the Teatro Filharmonico, Verona. Instead of presenting it as a simple narrative, Vick represented the work as a "morality lesson," in a modern day setting, but with references to its original 18th century context. A pre-perfomance…
In Review Stage Reviews
Opera di Firenze 2017-18 Review – La Favorite: Sublime Cast Led By Fabio Luisi Salvages Dull Production
Donizetti’s opera “La Favorite,” originally written in French for the L’Opera, Paris, was quickly translated into Italian, and soon became the preferred version. However, in the last quarter of the 20th century this trend was reversed and today it is the French version that is more widely performed, and for the first time, Florence’s Teatro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino has decided to present Donizetti’s opera in the original language. The Production…
In Review Stage Reviews
Lyric Opera of Chicago 2017-18 Review – Faust: Frame’s Unique Concepts Combine With Glorious Singing From Ailyn Pérez & Ben Bernheim
There was much anticipation Saturday night for the opening of "Faust" at Lyric Opera of Chicago in a new co-production with the Portland Opera. It’s certain that Gounod’s tale of the title character making a deal with the devil has never been told this way. There’s probably a clear dividing line on this production. If you prefer a grand opera like "Faust" to be grand in terms of tradition and…
In Review Stage Reviews
Washington National Opera 2017-18 Review – Don Carlo: Great Voices & A Brilliant, Fatalist Production Make Verdi Masterwork More Relevant Than Ever
It’s somewhat of a cliché for Golden Age thinking to creep into the dialogue of the opera world. How many times have you heard someone make the claim that they don’t make great voices the way they used to? The obvious answer is that they don’t because the world has changed and so have tastes. But sometimes, you’ll find those performances where the singing does remind you of that great…
In Review Stage Reviews
Vienna State Opera 2017-18 Review – Ariodante: Sir David McVicar’s sumptuous staging for the Wiener Staatsoper Is a Case of Handel With Care
An alien orchestra playing in the illustrious Wiener Staatsoper is about as rare as a running of the bulls on the Ringstrasse. Apart from a one-night swap with the La Scala orchestra in 2011, in recent years only Les Musiciens du Louvre, Les Talens Lyriques, and the Freiburger Barockorchester have been granted such a privilege. The latest member of this exclusive club is another consummate baroque ensemble, Les Arts Florissants.…
In Review Stage Reviews
Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Elektra: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Steals The Show In Strauss’ Most Violent Work
Richard Strauss’ “Elektra” returned to the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday, March 1, 2018, in a hotly anticipated revival of Patrice Chéreau’s production. Last time out, the production was a smash hit, its stripped-down sets allowing for the audience to focus on the violent drama put before us. It continues to work in that vein, though its overall stillness might not be apt for some audiences. Horror Film Embodied Its most…
In Review Stage Reviews
Theater an der Wien 2017-18 Review – Saul: Claus Guth’s Interpretation Is More Pasolini Than Prophet
When a lyricist describes his composer’s head as “full of maggots”, the chances of a harmonious collaborative outcome would seem slim. For Charles Jennens, the aesthete aristocratic librettist of Handel’s oratorio "Saul," such a jeremiad was not a solitary instance. The principal object of Jennens’ ire was Handel’s highly original orchestration, especially the invention of a tinkling bell-like keyboard called a “Carillon” which has since disappeared with the dodo. The glockenspiel and…
In Review Stage Reviews
Lyric Opera of Chicago 2017-18 Review – Così Fan Tutte: Crebassa and Martinez shine in Mozart’s Infidelity Comedy
The basic premise of “Così fan tutte” is that the women are the butt of the joke as they are fooled by wily old Don Alfonso and the maid Despina into falling for men from distant Albania while believing that their lovers are away having gone to war. Despite that plot point, it is fair to say “advantage women” for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s current run of Mozart’s comedy.  That’s…
In Review Stage Reviews
Teatro la Fenice 2017-18 Review – Zenobia: Embracing the Past & Future To Create Compelling Performance in the Present
More than 300 years ago, in 1694, the small Venetian theatre of Teatro Grimani di SS Giovanni e Paolo presented Albinoni’s first opera, “Zenobia, Regina de’ Palmireni,” as part of the carnival season. It has now returned to Venice, this time at the Teatro Malibran, for only its second production in the modern era (The first being in Damascus in 2008). Attending a performance of a baroque opera is always…
In Review Stage Reviews
Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Madama Butterfly: Ermonela Jaho Triumphs In Tragic Portrayal Of Puccini’s Heroine
Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" has been a staple of the repertoire for years and at the Metropolitan Opera, it has had somewhat of a renaissance ever since Anthony Minghella's inventive production came opened in 2006. The opera is really a showcase for a great soprano who can bring forth intense emotions and who can captivate an audience with the lead character's suffering. For this second revival of the season, the Met brought one of…