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From Russia with Romantic Satire

From Russia with Romantic Satire

BY ELI JACOBSON | Russian opera, like Russian literature, began at ground level with seminal author Alexander Pushkin. The first truly Russian opera, Glinka’s “Ruslan and Lyudmila,” is based on a Pushkin poem. Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” is based on a play by Pushkin. Two Pushkin-derived operas by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov were performed in New York in April […]

Autos and an Auto-da-Fe

Autos and an Auto-da-Fe

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | It’s delightful to be in San Francisco in June, with Frameline’s massive LGBTQ film festival just the pinnacle of Bay Area cultural events for a diverse community. This year’s San Francisco Opera line-up offered appealing prospects in three of the greatest operas ever written: “Don Carlo,” “Jenufa,” and “Carmen” — the Verdi […]

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 […]

A Long Submerged Operatic Jewel Rises Again

A Long Submerged Operatic Jewel Rises Again

BY ELI JACOBSON | Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” is the “C” in the operatic “ABC” triad of most popular works. While “Carmen” has totaled more than 1,000 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, this season’s New Year’s Eve premiere of Bizet’s “Les Pêcheurs de Perles” marked only its fifth Met performance and the first since the 1916-17 season. […]

Snowy Lincoln Center Nights

Snowy Lincoln Center Nights

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Metropolitan’s seemingly endless run of the 1982 Zeffirelli “Bohème” resumed January 15 after more than a month’s lapse. Riccardo Frizza had trouble holding together ensemble; rehearsals for cast members new or returning from past seasons must have been minimal. The performance dragged and just didn’t quite gel. French tenor Jean-François Borras […]

Going to Hell and Back in the New Year

Going to Hell and Back in the New Year

BY ELI JACOBSON | January is the Janus month where we look forward to the new year and back at the old. In the opera world, 2013 had a lot of distressing developments, a few solid triumphs, but also a lingering sense of instability and a deadening sense of artistic compromise. Companies for the most part […]

High Drama Offstage and On at the Met

High Drama Offstage and On at the Met

BY ELI JACOBSON | At the opening of the Metropolitan Opera season, political drama attempted to upstage music drama. LGBT activists petitioned Peter Gelb and the Met to dedicate the September 23 gala opening night of gay composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” –– starring two Putin supporters, soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev –– […]