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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 […]

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 […]

All Donizetti, All the Time

All Donizetti, All the Time

BY ELI JACOBSON | The Metropolitan Opera has scheduled five Donizetti operas this season — two comic gems, “L’Elisir d’Amore” and “Don Pasquale,” and the Tudor Queen Trilogy as a vehicle for Sondra Radvanovsky. The Metropolitan completed the trilogy with the company premiere of Donizetti’s 1837 opera “Roberto Devereux” directed by Sir David McVicar (who also […]

Precarious Footing

Precarious Footing

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | Director Bartlett Sher is a genius at finding the subtlety in characters. Whether in his groundbreaking revival of “Awake and Sing” or “The Light in the Piazza” or currently in the splendid revival of “The King and I” at Lincoln Center, the productions he helms, though often large in scope, are also […]

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 […]

Power Plays

Power Plays

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” was certainly inspired by the memoir of Anna Leonowens, who was tutor to the children of the king of Siam (contemporary Thailand), but it also seems to draw insights from “Pride and Prejudice,” as well. The story of the headstrong governess and the even more […]

Bridges Over Troubled Water

Bridges Over Troubled Water

BY DAVID KENNERLEY | In the 1990s, “The Bridges of Madison County” emerged a kind of a cultural juggernaut. The shamelessly lovey-dovey novel by Robert James Waller, on the New York Times bestseller list for three years, sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. The film, starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood (who also directed), was […]

Brief Boxer

Brief Boxer

BY DAVID KENNERLEY | The term “angry young man” is generally attributed to working class British playwrights in the 1950s and ‘60s, but perhaps no other drama embodies the concept more fervently than “Golden Boy,” written by Clifford Odets in New York in 1937. Proof positive that the influential Odets was well before his time. He […]