La Fenice 2017 Review – Madama Butterfly: Unique Production & Fascinating Soprano Lift Puccini’s Masterwork to New Heights

“Madama Butterfly”, a perennial favorite with the opera-going public, seems to be, for good or ill, immune to large-scale meddling from directors attempting to impose their own reading on, what is by opera standards, a well-known story. Rarely do productions step outside late 19th/early 20th century Japan, replete with kanzashi hairstyles, colorful kimonos and obi, houses with paper walls adorned {…}

La Favorite DVD Review: Elina Garanca And Matthew Polenzani Are Outstanding In This Deutsche Grammophon Release

Last year the Bayerische Staatsoper opened a new production of Donizetti’s beloved French work “La Favorite.” It was specifically created for Elīna Garanča, who was making her staged role debut after having impressed in the work in a concert performance at the Salzburg Festival alongside Juan Diego Flórez. This time around the company brought along two of her frequent collaborators, Mariusz Kwiecien {…}

Salzburg Festival 2017 Review – Aida: Anna Netrebko, Riccardo Muti Create Glorious Music In Light of Pointless Production

Salzburg Festival is about luxury. The audience is filled with celebrities, the casts are filled with stars, and the (relatively) higher priced tickets, all show its luxury. Yet, what defines its luxury, for me, is its long rehearsal period. When Anna Netrebko said in an interview how she wanted more rehearsals and Riccardo Muti said “preparing an opera the way {…}

Arena di Verona 2017 Review – Nabucco: Risorgimento Setting Lifted By Mesmerizing Vocal Artistry

This review is for the performance on August 4, 2017 and was written in collaboration with Editor-in-Chief David Salazar. “Va pensiero,” the famous chorus from Verdi’s “Nabucco” is often cited as an unofficial national anthem for Italy and proved as such throughout the Risorgimento when the country was battling for its independence from the Austrian Empire. The choral passage, with {…}

Santa Fe Opera 2017 Review – The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs: Solid Cast Lead Strong Debut Run of Mason Bates / Mark Campbell Opera

Steve Jobs would probably hate all the biopics that have snowballed since his 2011 death. However, the public just can’t seem to get enough of the troubled genius, especially at the Crosby Theatre. Santa Fe Opera presented composer Mason Bates’ and librettist Mark Campbell’s “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” to yet another sold out crowd on Aug. 10, 2017. Though {…}