Wexford Festival Opera 2017 Review – Risurrezione: A Stunningly Beautiful Showcase Led By Anne Sophie Duprels That Demands Re-Examination of Alfano’s Art

Alfano is almost exclusively known today for completing “Turandot,” following Puccini’s untimely death in 1924, a commission he took reluctantly, and one which undoubtedly negatively affected his reputation as a composer in his own right. In fact, since Alfano’s death in 1954 almost all of his operas have disappeared from the stage, with the exception of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” which {…}

Chicago Opera Theater 2017-18 Review – The Consul: Menotti’s Opera Given Harrowing Production Featuring Patricia Racette

  The Chicago Opera Theater mounted a harrowing production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Consul” November 4, 2017, at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building.  A co-production with Long Beach Opera, “The Consul will continue its Chicago run November 10 and 12. “The Consul” had a Philadelphia premiere in 1950 (when the post-WWII cold war was chilling the international {…}

Lyric Opera of Chicago 2017-18 Review – Die Walküre: Owens and Goerke Excel As Strained Familial Relationships Draw Focus

Staging a new production of a Ring cycle is always daunting because of history; no other opera is held up in comparison to previous productions more than Wagner’s grand gesamtkunstwerk. How David Pountney’s new production, now halfway complete at Lyric Opera of Chicago, holds up to history remains to be seen after his “Die Walküre” opened Wednesday night in front {…}

Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – The Exterminating Angel: Thomas Adès Opera May Prove Polarizing Emotionally

Luis Buñuel’s “The Exterminating Angel” is one of the iconic surrealist masterpieces of all cinema. Set at an upper-class dinner, the film analyzes how people revert to their basest of instincts when they get stuck in a room that they inexplicably cannot escape. The film succeeds in its ability to blend the normal with the unreal in rather claustrophobic fashion, {…}

Wexford Festival Opera 2017 Review – The Dubliners: An Exciting Double Bill That Highlights Irish Turmoil

In 1914, James Joyce’s “The Dubliners” was published, in which he penned a number of portraits of lower-middle/middle class Dublin folk. The book painted a picture of Dublin as inward looking, parochial city, in which its people’s horizons were very low, in which they were at the mercy of the church, corruption, and their own and other people’s prejudice. They {…}

Wexford Festival Opera 2017 Review – La Scala di Seta: A Perfectly Entertaining, if Uneven, Performance

Wexford Festival Opera’s shortworks, performed during the afternoon at White’s, a local hotel, are small-scale productions of known and lesser-known works in a reduced format with piano accompaniment. The aim is to provide an opportunity for festival singers appearing in minor roles or the chorus to showcase their talents in more substantial roles. Of course, it also provides further opportunities {…}

Lyric Opera of Chicago 2017-18 Review – Rigoletto: Matthew Polenzani, Quinn Kelsey and Rosa Feola Dazzle in Verdi’s Tragedy

The Lyric Opera of Chicago opened its season with a fabulous collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet with the French version of “Orphée et Eurydice.” It was a sensational production, although the fact that Gluck’s work doesn’t really feature a great amount of singing perhaps left a void for some hearty Lyric operagoers. Anybody who felt that way certainly had their {…}

Wexford Festival Opera 2017 Review – Margherita: Strong Production Makes Case that Foroni Could Have Challenged Verdi For Mantle of Italy’s Top Composer

Following Donizetti’s death in 1848 the mantle of Italian opera eventually passed onto Verdi, something that today appears to have been a natural and uncontested succession. Yet, this was not so certain a transition as it now seems. A number of other composer also vied for the accolade, including a now almost unknown composer from Verona, called Jacopo Foroni. Hailing {…}