Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Verdi Requiem: Dmitri Hvorostovsky Gets Loving Tribute In Form of Emotionally Engaging Performance

A performance of Verdi’s Requiem is a rather rare event at the Metropolitan Opera. That a run of the famed mass is currently underway with the company comes down to the fact that a proposed production for another opera was canceled. But the timing could not have been better. With the unfortunate passing of baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Met was {…}

San Francisco Opera 2017-18 Review – Girls of the Golden West: John Adams’ Latest Work Thrills In Act Two, Though Opera As Whole Lacks Cohesion

What better way to celebrate America in the midst of moral decay? What better offering than a paean to the quest for independence, human dignity, the chance for actual freedom? Meet “Girls of the Golden West,” John Adam’s brand new opera, given its world premiere last night in San Francisco. A collaboration with the renowned artist and visionary, Peter Sellars, {…}

Juilliard Opera 2017-18 Review – La Finta Giardiniera: Mozart Comedy Gets Remarkable Production With Rising Stars

Despite fall’s chill blanketing Manhattan, opera-goers are delighting in the light-hearted comedy in Juilliard’s production of Mozart’s “La Finta Giardiniera.” Composed when he was just shy of turning 19, Mozart indulges in the fiery emotions that stir a garden party, gathered at the house of a small-town mayor. The opening scene reels in the listener while two maids whisper about {…}

Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Madama Butterfly: Hui He Leads Classic Anthony Minghella Production In Memorable Night

The beauty of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” could render any critique almost unseemly. After all, to hear that seamless music, the moments that turn transcendent — and then to cavil? I’d suggest that even a modest performance, say, even in the dense rainforest (echoing, of course, Werner Herzog’s “Ftizcarraldo”) would still, inevitably, move one. The score simply flows, with audience and performers {…}

New Orleans Opera 2017-18 Review – Orpheus in the Underworld: Laughs Aplenty in Offenbach’s Satire That Spares Nobody

It’s always a welcome sight when companies stage works that are underappreciated and lesser known. It’s also risky because such unfamiliarity can result in smaller audiences who would be more willing to come out for works that are more recognizable. With that in mind, it was admirable for New Orleans Opera to present Jacques Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld” last {…}

Opéra de Montreal 2017-18 Review – La Cenerentola: Solid Cast Creates Memorable Experience With Rossini Masterpiece

I will kick off this review by noting that it was the first time I had ever seen “Cenerentola” and I was charmed.  It was a magical evening, with great music, excellent singing and loads of comedy and stage business. It began with a fine rendering of the overture by the Orchestre Metropolitan conducted by the Spanish conductor Jose Miguel Perez-Sierra. {…}

Metropolitan Opera 2017-18 Review – Thaïs: Ailyn Pérez & Gerald Finley Must Be Heard In Gorgeous Revival of Massenet Masterpiece

“The voice must be heard.” For the last two years, this has been the calling card for the Metropolitan Opera’s marketing department, a call to just come and listen to opera as it is intended to be. An invitation to experience something that can’t be experienced anywhere. For many, that tagline has been particularly emblematic of the vocal wizardry that {…}