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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 […]

Mostly Marvelous Mozart

Mostly Marvelous Mozart

BY ELI JACOBSON | This year’s Mostly Mozart Festival kicked off on July 25 with an all-star gala concert of Mozart’s operatic hit parade billed as “The Illuminated Heart.” The stunning video projections, costumes, illuminations, and visual effects were designed by Netia Jones who also directed the show. A mix of familiar Mozart specialists and new […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Musical Salvation

Musical Salvation

BY ELI JACOBSON | Wagner’s “Parsifal” is not a conventional opera in dramatic structure, content, or conception and should not be staged like one. The Metropolitan Opera’s previous production — the least successful of the Otto Schenk/ Günther Schneider-Siemssen “romantic, realistic” Met Wagner productions — turned the opera into Disneyfied kitsch. I remember vividly the Astroturf […]