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Mostly Met

Mostly Met

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Busy with several choral groups, Kent Tritle conducted the Oratorio Society’s invigorating Carnegie “Messiah” on December 18. The orchestra proved adequate if not exceptional, though trumpeter Scott McIntosh scored alongside Dashon Burton’s lively, well-projected bass-baritone in their marvelous joint aria. This venerable amateur chorus makes an impressive sound, not always flawless […]

“Dutchman” Flies Under Nezet-Seguin’s Baton

“Dutchman” Flies Under Nezet-Seguin’s Baton

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Metropolitan Opera proved a good place to be on May 4, at the third performance given this season of Wagner’s “transitional” opera “Der fliegende Hollaender” (“The Flying Dutchman.”) Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the youthful, out gay Canadian anointed as the company next music director, achieved fine results in the pit, approaching the score […]

Subs Surface at the Met

Subs Surface at the Met

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | In any of the much-discussed “golden eras” of the Metropolitan Opera, keeping casts of a production together was rarely a priority. Sometimes voice fans loved this. For example, in 1964-65 one could hear six Toscas, six Cavaradossis, and seven Scarpias divided among 16 house performances, virtually all of them international artists, many […]

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 […]

Season’s Finale

Season’s Finale

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | My last Met show this season was Verdi’s “Un ballo in maschera,” very well conducted by veteran James Levine two days after he did an equally impressive “Rake’s Progress.” Perhaps these days it’s best to skip the opening night of a Levine revival; things seem to gel much more by the second […]

Warm Voices for Cold Spring Nights   

Warm Voices for Cold Spring Nights   

BY ELI JACOBSON | It seems that every year the Metropolitan Opera schedules a short revival of a difficult 20th century opera and it turns out to be one of the season highlights.  This season was bookended by two such revivals — a superb “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” in November and the sensational return of Stravinsky’s […]

Bi-Coastal Opera

Bi-Coastal Opera

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Neal Goren’s always interesting Gotham Opera started its season October 14 at the Lynch Theater with a Bohuslav Martinu double bill that looked great — Gotham shows almost always do — but left one wanting musically. The urbane Czech composer penned works, including “Julietta” and “The Greek Passion,” that deserve renewed local […]

Three Tenors

Three Tenors

  BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Tenors do not need to come in threes, but recent weeks have seen three major exponents of high-voiced repertory gracing local stages. One of these — the late-blooming Polish star Piotr Beczala — would be on anyone’s list of great operatic singers active today. The other two — Russell Thomas and […]

Fumbling the “Ballo”

Fumbling the “Ballo”

BY ELI JACOBSON | Former bad-boy director turned respected grand seigneur David Alden made his Metropolitan Opera debut with a new production of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.” Alden overlaid his production with three parallel dramatic concepts, but they failed to coalesce into a compelling unified whole, instead adding layers of distracting artifice undercutting Verdi’s solid […]