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The Three Faces of Pretty

The Three Faces of Pretty

BY ELI JACOBSON | Peter Gelb has been on the hunt for new operatic stars throughout the decade he has been at the helm of the Metropolitan Opera. Several of his discoveries have not lived up their anticipated potential, and the current galaxy of stars will age and gradually drop from the operatic firmament. (Renée Fleming […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Send In the Clowns  

Send In the Clowns  

BY ELI JACOBSON | Though “Send in the Clowns” is Sondheim’s most popular song, very few people understand the significance of the title. It was generally thought to be a circus reference — whenever an accident or injury occurs in the ring, the ringmaster will send in the clowns to divert the audience’s attention. However, Sondheim […]

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 […]

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 […]

From Darkness into Light, Light into Darkness

From Darkness into Light, Light into Darkness

BY ELI JACOBSON | Washout though it was, at least in New York City, winter storm Juno claimed at least one victim with the cancellation of the January 26 Metropolitan Opera double bill of Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta” (1892) and Béla Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” (1918). The postponed premiere took place on January 29 with drama onstage and off. […]

New Year’s Eve’s Last Waltz

New Year’s Eve’s Last Waltz

BY ELI JACOBSON | Franz Lehár in his 1905 operetta masterpiece “The Merry Widow” used the waltz as a metaphor for the push and pull of sexual attraction. Money and politics push the ex-lovers Hanna Glawari and Count Danilo apart but the strains of the waltz pull them together. Eventually politics and money capitulate before […]

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