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Willa Kim’s Searing Signature

Willa Kim’s Searing Signature

BY DAVID NOH | A multitude of adjectives could be used to describe designer Willa Kim, who passed away in late December at the age of 99 on Vashon Island, Washington, but, somehow, “redoubtable” springs first to mind. She and I were both full-on Cancers, with no Earth in our charts, according to her. We […]

What They Did for Love

What They Did for Love

BY ELI JACOBSON | Passionate women who go to extreme lengths for love eventually making the ultimate sacrifice are the lifeblood of opera. The winter opera season brought us several shattering portraits of women who live and die for love. Only a few hours before 2017 began, Juliet Capulet died for love in the New […]

Debbie Reynolds Kicked Ass

Debbie Reynolds Kicked Ass

BY DAVID NOH | And now, both Carrie Fisher, 60, and her equally movie-starry mother, Debbie Reynolds, 84, have truly gone into legend, the latter heartbreakingly following her daughter’s untimely death one day later. The facile term “icon” has been tossed around a lot lately regarding them, but it is certainly apropos. The trademark movie characters […]

An Alan Turing Fantasia

An Alan Turing Fantasia

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Gay operatic history may be made January 12 at Manhattan’s Merkin Hall, at the world premiere – in concert – of “The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing.” This historical fantasia, cutting-edge composer Justine F. Chen’s first full-length opera, enlists experienced playwright David Simpatico’s libretto to create speculative versions of the renowned […]

Home games

Home games

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Met production of “La bohème” dates from 1981; my database tells me I had seen it 15 times before going again December 8. Franco Zeffirelli’s behemoth concept of Act II – an audience “set applause” machine rendering the principals all but invisible – is usually balanced by the wintry beauty of […]

Road Shows

Road Shows

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Washington National Opera had two aces in the hole for its staging of “La fille du régiment,” heard November 18 – redeeming what was otherwise problematic. The production was by a “director and choreographer” — always a red flag in my experience if you’re not dealing with an opera-ballet – Robert Longbottom. […]

Musical Conflicts in the Middle East

Musical Conflicts in the Middle East

BY ELI JACOBSON | As far back as Biblical times, the Middle East region has been a cauldron of tribal warfare and power struggles. These conflicts also figured in the historical background behind the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays we celebrate this month. Opera also has its share of Mideast conflicts, as witnessed on local opera stages […]

Things to Celebrate from 2016

Things to Celebrate from 2016

BY DAVID NOH | And so, 2016 ends with both a bang (of the most unsettling proportion with the incoming POTUS’ myriad threats) and a whimper (all of us, in reaction), yet the Agnes Moorehead Awards for the 10 Best Live Performances – the Aggies, if you will – still need to be bestowed upon the […]

Two Legends –– One Alive

Two Legends –– One Alive

BY DAVID NOH | Although it was said he never had a dance lesson in his life, the most famous choreographer in cinema has got to be Busby Berkeley (1895-1976). As a holiday treat, Film Forum is hosting a festival devoted to him, filled with those signature, splashy, overhead aerial shots – that made his […]

Manon Lets Go!

Manon Lets Go!

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Met revived last year’s direly misconceived production of “Manon Lescaut” and improved on it in some ways — though, heard November 30, Marco Armiliato’s adequate, routine traversal didn’t match Fabio Luisi’s way with the score. Paula Williams dispensed with some of the meandering absurdities of Richard Eyre’s Act One “Nazi brunch […]