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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 […]

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 […]

Madonna and Michael’s Main Man

Madonna and Michael’s Main Man

BY DAVID NOH | The director and choreographer Vince Paterson may not be known to you by name, but you definitely know his work. The dazzling dance moves you’ve seen in the most iconic music videos — from Michael Jackson and Madonna to films like “Dancer in the Dark,” “Evita,” and “The Birdcage,” among countless others […]

In the Met’s New “Otello,” Moor is Less  

In the Met’s New “Otello,” Moor is Less  

BY ELI JACOBSON | The elimination of traditional blackface from Bartlett Sher’s new Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi’s “Otello” has occasioned considerable controversy online and in the print press. Both the Shakespeare play and Arrigo Boito’s libretto for Verdi’s opera refer to the Moor of Venice as “black.” By the Renaissance, “moor” (often “blackamoor”) referred to […]

From Darkness into Light, Light into Darkness

From Darkness into Light, Light into Darkness

BY ELI JACOBSON | Washout though it was, at least in New York City, winter storm Juno claimed at least one victim with the cancellation of the January 26 Metropolitan Opera double bill of Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta” (1892) and Béla Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” (1918). The postponed premiere took place on January 29 with drama onstage and off. […]

New Starts

New Starts

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | September brought good news to New York’s opera world. The American Opera Projects premiered a fine new work of unusual interest to the LGBT community, Laura Kaminsky’s “As One.” And the Metropolitan, after bruising labor negotiations, opened on time, with an uneven new staging of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and a […]

As the Games Begin in Sochi, the Pressure Steps Up in Manhattan

As the Games Begin in Sochi, the Pressure Steps Up in Manhattan

BY PAUL SCHINDLER | As the 2014 Winter Olympics were opening in Sochi, Russia, critics of that nation’s crackdown on its LGBT citizens held at least three protests in Manhattan. Meanwhile, Internet giant Google offered its own perspective. On February 6, the activist group Queer Nation, which has been leading street protests against Russia since last […]

Going to Hell and Back in the New Year

Going to Hell and Back in the New Year

BY ELI JACOBSON | January is the Janus month where we look forward to the new year and back at the old. In the opera world, 2013 had a lot of distressing developments, a few solid triumphs, but also a lingering sense of instability and a deadening sense of artistic compromise. Companies for the most part […]

Facing Carnegie Protest, Putin Backer Gergiev Silent on Anti-Gay Laws

Facing Carnegie Protest, Putin Backer Gergiev Silent on Anti-Gay Laws

BY ANDY HUMM | Protests against allies of Vladimir Putin in New York concert halls moved from the Metropolitan Opera on September 23 to Carnegie Hall on October 10, targeting the same conductor and demanding that the leaders of these institutions do more to condemn the scapegoating of Russian gays who live under the threat of […]

High Drama Offstage and On at the Met

High Drama Offstage and On at the Met

BY ELI JACOBSON | At the opening of the Metropolitan Opera season, political drama attempted to upstage music drama. LGBT activists petitioned Peter Gelb and the Met to dedicate the September 23 gala opening night of gay composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” –– starring two Putin supporters, soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev –– […]

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