Opera Rara 2017-18 Review – The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: Michael Nyman’s Opera About Madness Makes a Lot of Sense in Krakow

Since 2009 Opera Rara has been bringing obscure operatic works to the resplendent royal city of Kraków in Poland. Even though this year’s Opera Rara Festival included works by Charpentier, Gluck, Purcell and John Blow (the latter performed by John Butt and the superb Dunedin Concert) it is not just baroque bijoux which are presented to the receptive and appreciative {…}

Manhattan School of Music Master Recital 2018: Baritone William Huyler Delivers Knockout Showcase of ‘Forbidden’ Composers

Opening with Ravel’s « Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, » William Huyler set the tone for what was an introspective and heartfelt themed Master recital at the Manhattan School of Music’s Greenfield Hall. Huyler emphasized how each of the art song composers chosen for his recital (Ravel, Mahler and Copland), were each forbidden to have their creations performed at some point in their {…}

Chicago Opera Theater 2017-18 Review: Elizabeth Cree: A Masterpiece Hits the Stage in Potent Fashion

The Chicago Opera Theater presented a stellar performance of “Elizabeth Cree” on Feb. 10, 2018, at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building. A co-production with Opera Philadelphia, this murder mystery opera based on Peter Ackroyd’s historical crime novel, “The Trial of Elizabeth Cree,” treads a knife-edge, successfully balancing horrific dramatic narrative, tongue-in-cheek vaudeville, and bittersweet pathos. Mark Campbell’s text {…}

Canadian Opera Company 2017-18 Review – The Abduction From the Seraglio: Revisions to Libretto Don’t Feel All That Necessary

Purists fear not. Rest easy, ye who learned with alarm that writer/director Wajdi Mouawad has taken extreme liberties with the libretto of Mozart’s early masterpiece, “The Abduction from the Seraglio,” not just tinkering with dialogue but inserting whole new scenes to both accentuate European racism and sexism and soften Ottoman despotism: not a note of Mozart’s divine magic has been {…}

Tucson Desert Song Festival 2017-18 Review: Phillippe Sly and John Charles Britton Deliver Mesmerizing Night of Schubert

On February 3, 2018, the Tucson Guitar Society and the University of Arizona Bolton Guitar Studies Program presented bass-baritone Philippe Sly and guitarist John Charles Britton in an all-Schubert recital. This was yet another part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival. At first, I wondered about Schubert with a guitar instead of a piano, or to be more historically informed {…}

Houston Grand Opera 2017-18 Review – The Barber of Seville: Laughs Not Up To Par In Uneven Production

Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” has always been the gold standard for Italian opera buffa as it is based on the Figaro plays of 18th-century French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais. It seems that the buffa-style laughs and gags endemic to this masterpiece were not enough for Spanish director Joan Font, whose version is currently running at Houston Grand Opera. What {…}