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Gounod, Rameau, and Strauss

Gounod, Rameau, and Strauss

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Bartlett Sher’s supernumerary-loaded, sleepy staging of  “Roméo et Juliette” sank fairly perilously April 23 under the indiscriminate, pace-deadening conducting of Plácido Domingo. There are reasons audiences want to hear Domingo’s compromised but still firm, energetic singing, but his conducting has always at best mediocre — an abuse of his  industry influence […]

Janelle Monáe Fleshes Herself Out

Janelle Monáe Fleshes Herself Out

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Janelle Monáe’s first two major-label albums, 2010’s “The ArchAndroid” and 2013’s “The Electric Lady,” were part of a larger Afro-futurist conceptual project, along with their associated videos, in which she played an android named Cindi Mayweather. Without becoming a huge star, she has attracted an audience of outcasts much like David Bowie […]

Star-Crossed Lovers in Ancient Castles

Star-Crossed Lovers in Ancient Castles

BY ELI JACOBSON | On April 12, anyone close to Manhattan who considers themself a hard-core opera fan was in one place: Carnegie Hall. We were all convened in that hallowed hall to hear Jonas Kaufmann attempt his first partial climb up the Mount Everest that is Wagner’s Tristan in a concert performance of Act II […]

Bicoastal Voices

Bicoastal Voices

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Little Opera Theatre of NY offered a very pleasant surprise at Baruch’s impressive Performing Arts Center March 24 with “Piramo e Tisbe” by Hamburg-born Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783), a local premiere. One thinks of Hasse as Handel without the psychology; but the music (under harpsichordist Elliot Figg) was delightful and formally […]

A Noise Rap Scream of Alienation

A Noise Rap Scream of Alienation

BY STEVE ERICKSON | “Vanowen,” the opening track on noise rap duo Moodie Black’s latest album, “Lucas Acid,” features feedback, blasts of electronic shrieks, and live bass guitar. It does not include anything resembling mainstream hip-hop production. The group, consisting of trans female vocalist/ producer Kdeath and guitarist Sean Lindahl, embraces the noise rap label — […]

Sideshow Distractions

Sideshow Distractions

BY ELI JACOBSON | This month, the Metropolitan Opera unveiled a new production by Phelim McDermott of Mozart’s unsettling sex comedy “Così fan tutte,” a co-production with the English National Opera. McDermott resets this intimate chamber piece from a Neapolitan villa to the Coney Island of the 1950s, featuring a bustling boardwalk with bumper cars, sideshow […]

Bel Canto Babylon at the Met

Bel Canto Babylon at the Met

BY ELI JACOBSON | “Semiramide” was Gioachino Rossini’s final opera for Italy, the last soprano role he composed for his wife Isabella Colbran, and the ultimate Italian opera seria in the classical tradition. It premiered in Venice in February 1823 and immediately afterwards Rossini moved to Paris. In France, Rossini eventually traded Italian opera for […]

Into the Light

Into the Light

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | With a combination of New Age ideas, Southern Gothic storytelling, and supernova star power, Jomama Jones is blazing through Joe’s Pub with a new show, “Black Light.” Jones is the female alter ego of playwright and musician Daniel Alexander Jones, and the sensitive show weaves together a variety of stories and 12 exquisite […]

Pushing Glam, Bowie, Gaga in a Dystopian Direction

Pushing Glam, Bowie, Gaga in a Dystopian Direction

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The out gay one-man band Felix and the Future has been recording for seven years now, but “Holy Hands, Vol. Two” is his debut album. It’s a direct follow-up to last year’s “Holy Hands, Vol. 1” EP and includes the previously released single “A Good Son.” Felix and the Future has also, […]

Always On Their Mind

Always On Their Mind

BY STEVE ERICKSON | When the Pet Shop Boys’ first single “West End Girls” became an American hit in 1986 (an earlier version released the previous year had flopped), it was easy to lump them in with groups like Erasure and Bronski Beat. They were a duo consisting of singer and lyricist Neil Tennant and keyboardist […]