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Mermaids, Merimée, Housman, and Holofernes

Mermaids, Merimée, Housman, and Holofernes

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Met needed a new “Rusalka” to replace Otto Schenk’s antique Vienna-sourced fairy-tale version, which witnessed some extraordinary performances starring Gabriela Benacková and Renee Fleming. Given Mary Zimmerman’s catastrophic history at this theater, what she and her fine design team produced, seen February 2, proved quite creditable and enjoyable — if short […]

Outing the Atonal Music of Mr. Copland

Outing the Atonal Music of Mr. Copland

BY GERALD BUSBY | At a recent concert featuring the serial music of Aaron Copland (1900-1990), Adam Tendler played “Piano Fantasy” — a piece I first heard 60 years ago. William Masselos was the pianist on that occasion, and he hammered home the stiff angularity of the music as if force-feeding the audience something they […]

Winter Voices at Lincoln Center

Winter Voices at Lincoln Center

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | In principle it was a good idea for the reconstituted NYCO to revive “Candide”: the Bernstein centennial approaches, and there’s life in the 1956 musical yet, as Glimmerglass showed quite handily in 2015. Some attractive names from Broadway as well as opera took part, and at the second show January 7 […]

They Know How to Love Her

They Know How to Love Her

BY DAVID NOH | She was quite literally a goddess of song. Amazonian, too, standing six feet tall with a luscious face that bespoke the beauties in canvases by Gauguin and Burne-Jones. And when she opened that succulent mouth, waves of dulcet, soulful resonance enveloped you like the warmest, most sensual aural caress, with, intriguingly, […]

Willa Kim’s Searing Signature

Willa Kim’s Searing Signature

BY DAVID NOH | A multitude of adjectives could be used to describe designer Willa Kim, who passed away in late December at the age of 99 on Vashon Island, Washington, but, somehow, “redoubtable” springs first to mind. She and I were both full-on Cancers, with no Earth in our charts, according to her. We […]

What They Did for Love

What They Did for Love

BY ELI JACOBSON | Passionate women who go to extreme lengths for love eventually making the ultimate sacrifice are the lifeblood of opera. The winter opera season brought us several shattering portraits of women who live and die for love. Only a few hours before 2017 began, Juliet Capulet died for love in the New […]

Debbie Reynolds Kicked Ass

Debbie Reynolds Kicked Ass

BY DAVID NOH | And now, both Carrie Fisher, 60, and her equally movie-starry mother, Debbie Reynolds, 84, have truly gone into legend, the latter heartbreakingly following her daughter’s untimely death one day later. The facile term “icon” has been tossed around a lot lately regarding them, but it is certainly apropos. The trademark movie characters […]

An Alan Turing Fantasia

An Alan Turing Fantasia

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Gay operatic history may be made January 12 at Manhattan’s Merkin Hall, at the world premiere – in concert – of “The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing.” This historical fantasia, cutting-edge composer Justine F. Chen’s first full-length opera, enlists experienced playwright David Simpatico’s libretto to create speculative versions of the renowned […]

Home games

Home games

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Met production of “La bohème” dates from 1981; my database tells me I had seen it 15 times before going again December 8. Franco Zeffirelli’s behemoth concept of Act II – an audience “set applause” machine rendering the principals all but invisible – is usually balanced by the wintry beauty of […]

Road Shows

Road Shows

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Washington National Opera had two aces in the hole for its staging of “La fille du régiment,” heard November 18 – redeeming what was otherwise problematic. The production was by a “director and choreographer” — always a red flag in my experience if you’re not dealing with an opera-ballet – Robert Longbottom. […]

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