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, {…}

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 {…}

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 {…}

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. {…}

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 {…}

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 {…}

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 {…}