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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 […]

“Before Night Falls” Takes Miami

“Before Night Falls” Takes Miami

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Out Cuban-American composer Jorge Martín’s opera “Before Night Falls” — based on the vivid, sometimes steamy posthumous memoirs of charismatic poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990) — stands as one of this century’s most exciting and musically enjoyable new operas.  Martín obtained the rights before Julian Schnabel made his popular 2000 film […]

Lisa Kron of “Fun Home” Fame Honored

Lisa Kron of “Fun Home” Fame Honored

BY DAVID NOH | On February 6, I attended one of my favorite events, the 27th annual Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre presented at ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Named after the late Ed Kleban, the quite wonderful lyricist for “A Chorus Line,” the prize is given to two honorees annually […]

Long Lines

Long Lines

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | At 16, I saw the Met’s current production of “I puritani”, which the company revived with mixed success February 10. The staging (Sandro Sequi), sets (Ming Cho Lee), and costumes (Peter J. Hall) were in a deliberated antiquated style — scrims, drops, stand-and-sing chorus — beloved of the “muscle” behind the project, […]

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 […]