Teatro La Fenice 2017 Review – La Sonnambula: A Risk-Taking Diva & Production Elevate Bellini’s Musical Genius

Bellini’s pastoral opera “La Sonnambula” made a welcome return to La Fenice, in a revival of Bepi Morassi’s 2012, widely-acclaimed production. In this outing, conducted by Fabrizio Maria Carminati, Irina Dubrovskaya played the role of Amina, with Shalva Mukeria as Elvino and Roberto Scandiuzzi as Rodolfo. The minor roles were undertaken by Julie Mellor as Teresa, Silvia Frigato as Lisa {…}

Des Moines Metro Opera Review 2017 – Billy Budd: Zachary James Illuminates Britten Masterwork With His Own Masterpiece Interpretation

If you surveyed the most recent 1,000 opera reviews, “testosterone” would not be one of the top hits. Unless you were Googling the Des Moines Metro Opera’s new production of “Billy Budd,” which promises to be the hit of its 45th season. Energized by the transformative performance of Zachary James as the “villain” John Claggart, this story is about much {…}

Royal Opera House Review 2016-17 – Otello: Jonas Kaufmann Cements His Legacy As One of History’s Great Otellos

Jonas Kaufmann has been hailed as the greatest tenors alive and is one of the most exciting performers currently working today. So it was no surprise that he would one day take the iconic role of Verdi’s “Otello.” There were many doubters regarding his availability (or ability) to master the role, especially after many high-profile cancellations due to illness. However, {…}

Royal Opera House Review 2016-17 – La Traviata: Corinne Winters Triumphs In Verdi’s Heart Wrenching Masterwork

The role of Violetta Valery in Verdi’s “La Traviata” is said to be one of the most complex soprano roles in the repertoire, requiring a soprano with musical versatility and acting skills. In the past few years, many sopranos have dominated the role and created memorable portrayals. One such soprano is Corinne Winters, the Maryland-born singer who is making a {…}

San Francisco Opera 2017 Review – La Boheme: Uneven Cast Still Leads to Musical Magic

It’s easy to love Puccini’s “La Bohème:” art, love, friends who romp and cavort, street scenes with lively genre action, and music to die for. Puccini’s classic thrills even non-opera lovers. “I could go every night,” we hear spectators say on leaving the War Memorial Opera House. Bringing to life again this Co-production with Houston Grand Opera, originally performed there {…}

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Review 2017 – The Trial: Heroic Conducting Leads to Strong Production of Phillip Glass Opera

This is the closing weekend of the Opera Theater of St Louis’ 2017 season, and the singers and musicians are holding nothing in reserve. That was evident at last night’s performance of “The Trial” by Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton, based on Franz Kafka’s iconic story of bewilderment and dysfunction. The work has been substantially revised since it debuted in {…}

Chicago Symphony Orchestra 2017 Review: Riccardo Muti Delivers Wondrous Taste of Italian Opera

For decades Riccardo Muti has been one of the finest interpreters of Verdi’s music. In fact, his understanding of the great composer’s style has created countless imitators, but few with the capacity of truly understanding the balance between a propulsive rhythmic emphasis and the nuance of Verdian singing. On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the maestro showcased his interpretative genius with {…}