Stage Reviews

In Review Stage Reviews
Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Il Trovatore: Four Great Voices Give Verdi Drama Wondrous Life In McVicar’s Genius Production
In recent years, Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” has slowly but surely established a potent foothold in the Metropolitan Opera’s standard repertory. The main reason? David McVicar’s striking and still awe-inspiring interpretation of Verdi’s middle-period masterwork. A Master At Work The inspiration of Francisco de Goya and his tableaus is obvious from the opening curtain and onwards. At the core of it all is the inherent violence in the piece. From the…
In Review Stage Reviews
Utah Opera 2017-18 Review – Moby Dick: Jake Heggie’s Masterwork Soars In Solid Production
Condensing a full-length novel down to an opera of manageable proportions is a daunting task. Sometimes the challenges seem insurmountable. Take, for example, Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s transformation of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Since its premiere in 2007, it’s gone through several revisions and multiple attempts at downsizing the sprawling story to a find a good, if not altogether successful, solution that works as an opera…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House Muscat 2017-18 Review – La Sonnambula: Rosa Feola Triumphs As Famed Bellini Heroine
Bellini's "La Sonnambula" is one of those operas whose fame does not transfer to enough performances and often does not result in a good performance due to difficulty in casting or because it relies on the leading soprano. Written to showcase Giuditta Pasta, one of the greatest divas of the time, the title role of Amina is known for its technical challenges which require the soprano to have complete command…
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Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2017-18 Review – I Masnadieri: Roberta Mantegna, Artur Rucinski Dominate in Brilliant But Bleak Production By Massimo Popolizio
It is always interesting to come across a performance of one of Verdi’s lesser known works, although you cannot always be certain of what you will get. Normally, these works are rarely performed for a reason - namely because they are not particularly strong. “Un Giorno di Regno” immediately springs to mind. But sometimes there seems to be no apparent reason for their neglect: Opera North’s impressive 1990 production of…
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Deutsche Oper Berlin 2017-18 Review – Carmen: Clémentine Margaine & Charles Castronovo Gutted By Director Obsessed With Human Organs & Vivisections
Many opera directors today fall onto a particular idée fixe and refuse to let it go, no matter what dramaturgical or textual incongruities ensue. Vera Nemirova’s fazzoletto-laden “Otello” in Bucharest, Hans Neuenfels’ laboratory rats “Lohengrin” in Bayreuth or Krzysztof Warlikowski’s “Brokeback Mountain” “Eugene Onegin” in Munich immediately spring to mind. Joining the ignominious list is Norwegian theatre director, Ole Anders Tandberg’s new production of "Carmen" for the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Instead…
In Review Stage Reviews
Teatro La Fenice Review 2017-18 – La Metamorfosi di Pasquale: Two Solid Leads Can’t Save Mediocre Work By Young Spontini
In 1802, Gaspare Spontini’s one act farse, “Le Metamorfosi di Pasquale,” was premiered at the Teatro San Moise in Venice to moderate acclaim. It was to be his last work for the Italian stage, as soon after he moved on to Paris and then to Berlin. Unfortunately, along with a number of Spontini’s other works, it was subsequently lost, although its libretto by Giuseppe Foppa, suffered no such fate and…
In Review Stage Reviews
Metropolitan Opera: 2017-18 Review – L’Elisir D’Amore: Polenzani Leaves Audience Drunk on Love
This review is for the performance on Saturday, January 20, 2018. Audiences at the Metropolitan Opera were in for a treat this evening as they gathered for Donizetti’s heartfelt comedy “L’Elisir D’Amore.” Bartlett Sher’s production faithfully held to tradition while creating an authentic experience of a small, connected village where events big or small ripple outwards and leave nothing untouched. While Sher's production attempts to create themes of the Risorgimento and…
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Prague National Theatre 2017-18 Review – Billy Budd: Britten Masterwork Capsizes In a Sea of Questionable Direction
Herman Melville, E.M. Forster, Eric Crozier and Benjamin Britten all believed that "Billy Budd" was set at sea. Czech theatre director Daniel Špinar thinks otherwise. His new four-act production of Britten’s psychologically fascinating, demonstrably homoerotic and deeply disturbing drama for the National Theatre in Prague had as much to do with HMS Indomitable as "Madama Butterfly" moved to Mozambique. In the Prologue, Vere sings “Confusion, so much is confusion!” which is…
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The Broad Stage Review 2018: Jonas Kaufmann’s Musical Genius Comes to Fore in Schubert’s ‘Die Schöne Mullerin’
Here is the story of a man and his brook... the poet and the maiden, the tenor and his Schubert. In other words – Jonas Kaufmann in Santa Monica, MLK day, 2018. Thirty somethings, 80 somethings, 39s, 48s, 24s... be-earringed, high-heeled, suited, sweat-shirted, flaming red and ocean blue hair, finely-knit sweaters, plain black jackets – all pressed through the doors of the smart, exquisite, 500 seat Broad Performing Arts Theater…
In Review Stage Reviews
Royal Opera House 2017-18 Review – Tosca: Pieczonka, Calleja, Finley Don’t Quite Mesh in Revival of Jonathan Kent’s Classic Produciton
There are instances in which it’s difficult for opera-lovers to remember "Tosca" is no comedy. From that perspective it is easy to recall the legend of a certain prima donna who once bounced back from the trampoline that was supposed to break her fall as Tosca killed herself. Floria Tosca is not one of opera’s most pitiable characters. She is fastidious, caricaturish, possessive enough to become jealous of a painted…