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Gounod, Rameau, and Strauss

Gounod, Rameau, and Strauss

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Bartlett Sher’s supernumerary-loaded, sleepy staging of  “Roméo et Juliette” sank fairly perilously April 23 under the indiscriminate, pace-deadening conducting of Plácido Domingo. There are reasons audiences want to hear Domingo’s compromised but still firm, energetic singing, but his conducting has always at best mediocre — an abuse of his  industry influence […]

Rossini’s Revolution Won’t Be Televised

Rossini’s Revolution Won’t Be Televised

BY ELI JACOBSON | At its premiere at the Paris Opéra in 1829, Gioachino Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell” (“William Tell”) created a revolution that influenced Verdi, Donizetti, Berlioz, Meyerbeer, and Wagner, changing the course of opera in the 19th century. It was the final opera of Rossini’s career — he retired at age 37. “Tell” has […]

African “Macbetto,” Czech Berlioz

African “Macbetto,” Czech Berlioz

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | September 24 in Philadelphia’s Prince Music Theater, a capacity audience heard Third World Bunfight’s adaptation (by Fabrizio Cassol) of Verdi’s “Macbeth.” Presenting this South African troupe continued Opera Philadelphia’s collaboration with the city’s extensive Fringe Festival. The brainchild of director Brett Bailey, this clever, moving, and sometimes quite profound reworking sets […]

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 […]