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From Russia with Romantic Satire

From Russia with Romantic Satire

BY ELI JACOBSON | Russian opera, like Russian literature, began at ground level with seminal author Alexander Pushkin. The first truly Russian opera, Glinka’s “Ruslan and Lyudmila,” is based on a Pushkin poem. Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” is based on a play by Pushkin. Two Pushkin-derived operas by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov were performed in New York in April […]

Still Searching for the “Angels”

Still Searching for the “Angels”

ELI JACOBSON | Tony Kushner completed his two part opus “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” in the early 1990s as a visceral response to critical issues that dominated the previous decade — the rise of Ronald Reagan, the emergence of AIDS, New Yorkers’ response to the crisis, and the culture wars […]

Katrina Lenk’s One-Two Punch

Katrina Lenk’s One-Two Punch

BY DAVID NOH | A triple threat and then some, Katrina Lenk is an actor I’d never of heard before seeing her illuminate David Yazbek’s stunning “The Band’s Visit” at the Atlantic Theatre Company earlier this year. Then, later in the season, this exquisite apparition — no other word, really — came out on stage in […]

“Dutchman” Flies Under Nezet-Seguin’s Baton

“Dutchman” Flies Under Nezet-Seguin’s Baton

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Metropolitan Opera proved a good place to be on May 4, at the third performance given this season of Wagner’s “transitional” opera “Der fliegende Hollaender” (“The Flying Dutchman.”) Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the youthful, out gay Canadian anointed as the company next music director, achieved fine results in the pit, approaching the score […]

Italian Verismo with International Flavor

Italian Verismo with International Flavor

BY ELI JACOBSON | The reconstituted New York City Opera is a strange beast. Often their performances are co-productions with other theaters, utilizing their artistic and performing resources. The orchestra and chorus are pick-up groups, not a resident ensemble. So the company identity and artistic profile seem to change radically with each production. Last September’s […]

Who’s Afraid of Hugo Wolf?

Who’s Afraid of Hugo Wolf?

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Met finally replaced its beloved if stodgy 1969 staging of “Rosenkavalier” with Robert Carsen’s clever, usually over-busy production from Covent Garden, sporting striking if not always handsome Sezession sets (Paul Steinberg) and outstanding pre-World War I period costumes (Brigitte Reiffenstuel). Strauss and von Hofmannsthal crafted three stupendous act endings; to […]

La Ross Returns

La Ross Returns

BY DAVID NOH | Diana Ross — that diva of divas, from a day when the real thing existed (acclaimed as such by critics and public, not presumptuously describing themselves as such, like Demi Lovato did recently on James Corden’s show) — is coming to town! On April 24 – 29, she will be in […]

Romantic Triangles and Mislaid Letters

Romantic Triangles and Mislaid Letters

BY ELI JACOBSON | In late March, LoftOpera upped its game with a vital, musically ambitious revival of Rossini’s 1816 version of “Otello” presented at the LightSpace Studios in Bushwick. Often with LoftOpera one takes the rough edges with the smooth — the atmosphere is loft party meets art happening and the action often spills into […]

A Met Trio

A Met Trio

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | On March 16, the Met revived “Fidelio” in Juergen Flimm’s visually unappetizing, dramatically fussy, and often just wrong-headed production, full of upstaging and misdirected focus (like the final scene’s ludicrous Marzelline meltdown and crowd lynching of Pizarro). I nevertheless enjoyed myself. Sebastian Weigle led unevenly, but enough of the resplendent score hit home […]

The Three Faces of Pretty

The Three Faces of Pretty

BY ELI JACOBSON | Peter Gelb has been on the hunt for new operatic stars throughout the decade he has been at the helm of the Metropolitan Opera. Several of his discoveries have not lived up their anticipated potential, and the current galaxy of stars will age and gradually drop from the operatic firmament. (Renée Fleming […]