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Bicoastal Voices

Bicoastal Voices

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Little Opera Theatre of NY offered a very pleasant surprise at Baruch’s impressive Performing Arts Center March 24 with “Piramo e Tisbe” by Hamburg-born Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783), a local premiere. One thinks of Hasse as Handel without the psychology; but the music (under harpsichordist Elliot Figg) was delightful and formally […]

Gypsies, Troubadours, and Divas

Gypsies, Troubadours, and Divas

BY ELI JACOBSON | In Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” everyone is fighting with each other, everyone fights back, and everyone loses. Still, despite the dark, convoluted story, this is an exhilarating opera with one sensational tune after another. This season’s Met revival of the David McVicar production featured one familiar performer (tenor Yonghoon Lee) with three rising […]

Home games

Home games

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Met production of “La bohème” dates from 1981; my database tells me I had seen it 15 times before going again December 8. Franco Zeffirelli’s behemoth concept of Act II – an audience “set applause” machine rendering the principals all but invisible – is usually balanced by the wintry beauty of […]

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 […]

Tudor Queens  

Tudor Queens  

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Sondra Radvanovsky –– one of the world’s most ambitious sopranos and, in the right roles, one of the most capable — has embarked on a huge project this Met season. Setting aside the weightier Verdi scores in which she’s pretty close to matchless today — “Ernani,” “Un ballo in maschera,” “I vespri […]

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 […]

New Voices Make their Mark

New Voices Make their Mark

BY ELI JACOBSON | It used to be that when cancellations occurred at the Metropolitan Opera it was a cause for disappointment and concern; lately it has become a cause for celebration. This season has seen numerous cast changes –– “La Bohème” had 15 performances and after the opening night every one had a cast […]

Starless Turns, Turning Stars

Starless Turns, Turning Stars

BY ELI JACOBSON | Certain operas — Puccini’s “La Bohème” for example — can withstand non-star casting because the opera itself is the star. Less durable repertory items serve as vehicles for established stars with unique vocal qualities. Three star-dependent operas were revived this spring at the Metropolitan Opera. The casts were made up, with one notable […]