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Desert Arts  

Desert Arts  

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Santa Fe Opera, perhaps North America’s most memorably set opera venue, is a joy to visit even when productions vary in quality. A recent stay (August 3-7) started iffily but quickly took on substance and allure. “La fille du regiment” and “Rigoletto” both utilized junk heap-style sets that made one’s eyes seek […]

The Inimitable Soph

The Inimitable Soph

BY DAVID NOH | From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents. From 18 to 35, she needs good looks. From 35 to 55, she needs a good personality. From 55 on, she needs good cash.” There were show biz originals, and then there was Sophie Tucker (1887-1966). Porcine-faced and decidedly stout, Tucker was, […]

An Old “Favorite” Given New Life  

An Old “Favorite” Given New Life  

BY ELI JACOBSON | From Lully on, Italian opera composers refined, deepened, and expanded their art, composing French operas for Paris. Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell” inaugurated the grand opera form, and with Verdi’s “Don Carlos” it reached its pinnacle. Will Crutchfield has programmed both those operas in the original French as part of his “Bel Canto at […]

San Francisco Treats  

San Francisco Treats  

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | While attending Pride Week and the fabulous Frameline film festival in San Francisco, there’s much opera to enjoy every June. Berlioz’s sublime “Les troyens” represents a monumental undertaking for any company; SFO hadn’t done so since massively cut performances in the 1960s with Régine Crespin. All the more reason to praise Donald […]

Ellen’s Back  

Ellen’s Back  

BY DAVID NOH | Real theater comebacks — the kind that incite an electric buzz of anticipation and, when truly triumphant in performance, drive an enslaved audience mad — are rare, indeed. But the long-unseen Ellen Greene, who just recreated her role of Audrey, the hapless but heartbreakingly irresistible heroine of “Little Shop of Horrors,” truly […]

Season’s Finale

Season’s Finale

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | My last Met show this season was Verdi’s “Un ballo in maschera,” very well conducted by veteran James Levine two days after he did an equally impressive “Rake’s Progress.” Perhaps these days it’s best to skip the opening night of a Levine revival; things seem to gel much more by the second […]

Character Actress Assoluta   

Character Actress Assoluta   

BY DAVID NOH | That absolute goddess of a character actress Julie Halston is having quite the year. After demolishing both audiences and admiring critics with the most hilarious cameo appearance ever in “You Can’t Take It with You,” she immediately went into “On the Town” for a short stint replacing Jackie Hoffman, and is now […]

Warm Voices for Cold Spring Nights   

Warm Voices for Cold Spring Nights   

BY ELI JACOBSON | It seems that every year the Metropolitan Opera schedules a short revival of a difficult 20th century opera and it turns out to be one of the season highlights.  This season was bookended by two such revivals — a superb “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” in November and the sensational return of Stravinsky’s […]

18th Century Fachs  

18th Century Fachs  

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Stephen Wadsworth directed a pleasing “Nozze di Figaro” at Juilliard, with his trademark visual taste and attention to detail. Charlie Corcoran’s very basic sets made sense — for once, hurrah, Act IV actually portrayed a garden — and Camille Assaf’s costumes were gorgeous and flattering. Wadsworth illuminated every exchange, also making a […]

Wonderful Wanamaker  

Wonderful Wanamaker  

BY DAVID NOH | One of the greatest, most versatile actresses alive, Zoë Wanamaker, just graced our city with her appearance in the Encores! revival of “Zorba!” Having long admired her on stage and screen, I dashed to interview her and found her to be wonderfully warm, with a wicked wit and terrific recall. “The last […]

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