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Ute Lemper’s Tribute to Marlene Dietrich

Ute Lemper’s Tribute to Marlene Dietrich

BY DAVID NOH | The minute I heard Ute Lemper’s new show at the Café Carlyle was about Marlene Dietrich, I knew I had to talk to her. For me, that German superstar could very well be the most important woman of the last century. Her life spanned nearly all of it and took her in […]

The Met When It’s Good

The Met When It’s Good

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | It’s a real if rare pleasure to walk out of the Metropolitan Opera thinking, “That was an extraordinary performance, worthy of the company’s highest legacy.” I felt that after — and indeed during — February 20’s “Parsifal.” Wagner’s final opera deals meaningfully in redemptive miracles; above all what mattered here was Yannick […]

Crossing Borders: Musical and Geographical

Crossing Borders: Musical and Geographical

BY ELI JACOBSON | Opera critics have a tendency to be finicky in matters concerning musical genre. Houston Grand Opera commissioned a “mariachi opera” from composer José (Pepe) Martínez set to a bilingual libretto by director Leonard Foglia. “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna,” which had its world premiere in Houston in 2010, is more mariachi […]

Lushly Produced to Its Own Detriment

Lushly Produced to Its Own Detriment

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The nebulous sub-genre of Americana often comes across as a version of country music for progressives who don’t want to deal with the celebrations of gun culture and sexist attitudes often found in mainstream country. Perhaps its listeners just don’t want to encounter any Republicans. Brandi Carlile’s new album “By The Way, […]

Re-Toolng the Great American Songbook

Re-Toolng the Great American Songbook

BY DAVID NOH | New York can be such a small town, especially if you’re in the business of show. It had been a hectically busy week and I’d had to reschedule an interview with actress/ singer Lena Hall, who then coincidentally popped up that same day performing with John Cameron Mitchell at the opening night/ […]

The Music of Mizrahi

The Music of Mizrahi

BY DAVID NOH | Now at the Carlyle for a two-week residency is fashion designer turned cabaret artiste Isaac Mizrahi. Always a fan of his designs — how well I remember his little boutique in Bergdorf’s, the first thing you’d see off the escalator, decorated with his genius stylized sketches, works of art in themselves — […]

Gypsies, Troubadours, and Divas

Gypsies, Troubadours, and Divas

BY ELI JACOBSON | In Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” everyone is fighting with each other, everyone fights back, and everyone loses. Still, despite the dark, convoluted story, this is an exhilarating opera with one sensational tune after another. This season’s Met revival of the David McVicar production featured one familiar performer (tenor Yonghoon Lee) with three rising […]

Staking Her Claim on Faith

Staking Her Claim on Faith

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The first song on “Lionheart,” the debut solo album by out lesbian Americana singer H. C. McEntire, gets to the point pretty bluntly. “A Lamb, A Dove” mixes Christian and gay imagery repeatedly. She’s obviously reclaiming the language of the religion, if not its substance, for women who have often been treated […]

The Politics of Desire

The Politics of Desire

BY ELI JACOBSON | Opera does personal drama and emotional conflict very well but intellectual, social, and political concepts are less suitable for musical adaptation. Two operas about a pair of lovers caught in a web of political power and intrigue opened this month. One was an expensive new production of “Tosca,” a standard repertory staple […]

Following in Fellow Travelers’ Footsteps

Following in Fellow Travelers’ Footsteps

BY ELI JACOBSON | On January 12, the Prototype Festival presents the New York premiere of “Fellow Travelers,” an opera with music by Gregory Spears and a libretto by Greg Pierce that debuted at Cincinnati Opera in June 2016. Prototype is bringing the Cincinnati Opera production directed by Kevin Newbury to the Gerald W. Lynch Theater […]