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Wagner Nights in Two Cities

Wagner Nights in Two Cities

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Last month, Washington National Opera finally mounted three complete “Ring” cycles in the compelling, image-rich production by Francesca Zambello that began in 2006. WNO ran out of funds in 2008’s crash and so “Götterdämmerung” got seen first at San Francisco Opera, the project’s co-sponsor. The whole company, onstage and off, and the […]

Loves Lost and Won, 18th Century Style  

Loves Lost and Won, 18th Century Style  

BY ELI JACOBSON | In recent months opera companies (large and small) and touring ensembles have been exploring the vicissitudes of love won and love lost as viewed through an often cynical 18th century Enlightenment sensibility warmed by the kindling fires of nascent Romanticism. The Metropolitan Opera presented a rare revival of Mozart’s “Die Entführung aus […]

Season Closers

Season Closers

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | James Levine got hero’s welcomes before, after, and during April 13’s Met “Simon Boccanegra.” That has become standard for the music director as he is — well, “eased out” is not how one would put it. When I can, I now avoid Levine’s first nights. By a few shows in, thanks […]

New York Provincial  

New York Provincial  

BY ELI JACOBSON | All New Yorkers think of their city as the center of the universe and that anything and everything significant that is going on in culture, music, art, whatever, can be found here. Yet in some areas New York is a cultural backwater. In Europe, the surviving operas of Antonio Vivaldi are being […]

Just like Old Times

Just like Old Times

BY ELI JACOBSON | In the first decade of James Levine’s artistic era at the Metropolitan Opera, two directors emerged who dominated the Italian and German wings with a traditional production style. The Italian director-designer Franco Zeffirelli created a series of visually spectacular Puccini productions in the 1980s that wowed audiences, though critics demurred. The Austrian […]

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 […]

The French Connection

The French Connection

BY ELI JACOBSON | French opera has become something of a stepchild in the international operatic repertoire — it doesn’t always get the love and attention it needs even in Paris. Its specialists are few and far between, and the French style has become internationalized, losing character, delicacy, and perfume. The Metropolitan Opera, historically a major […]

Debbie and Marin

Debbie and Marin

BY DAVID NOH | Deborah Voigt, having survived weight gain, drastic loss, addiction, one marriage, a few toxic relationships, and the most recent, gargantuanly tricky Wagner Ring Cycle revival at the Met, is ready to take it easy now. She has a one-woman show, “Voigt Lessons,” coming up at the 92nd Street Y (February 26; 92y.org), […]

Master Singers — And, um, Others…

Master Singers — And, um, Others…

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | At 32, the Met’s “Boheme” staging is older than the opera’s six leading characters are meant to be. It soldiers on, the crassly over-busy Act II bringing cheers, while the lovely snowy Act III restores some depth and taste. Score and even staging make for a good first opera experience, and the […]

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 […]

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