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Italian Verismo with International Flavor

Italian Verismo with International Flavor

BY ELI JACOBSON | The reconstituted New York City Opera is a strange beast. Often their performances are co-productions with other theaters, utilizing their artistic and performing resources. The orchestra and chorus are pick-up groups, not a resident ensemble. So the company identity and artistic profile seem to change radically with each production. Last September’s […]

Cavalli Soars as Puccini Sours

Cavalli Soars as Puccini Sours

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Juilliard made a fantastic contribution to the opera season with Zack Winokur’s imagistically haunting, pitch-perfect staging of Francesco Cavalli’s 1651 “Calisto.” The work exemplifies opera’s second generation, in which what had been a restrained, literally aristocratic pastime went public — especially in the fun-house mirror of Venetian culture — and aimed for […]

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 […]

Off with their Heads!

Off with their Heads!

BY ELI JACOBSON | Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda” (1834) had a difficult birth — the opera was banned at the dress rehearsal in Naples when the queen of Naples was horrified at the onstage royal execution. Soprano Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis as Mary Stuart tussled for real with the rival soprano singing Elizabeth I. The next […]

The Divas and Divos of December

The Divas and Divos of December

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Concert opera leavens New York’s repertory in salutary ways. The Collegiate Chorale’s December 5 mounting of Vincenzo Bellini’s penultimate work, “Beatrice di Tenda,” was a worthwhile and interesting endeavor, if uneven in its execution. “Beatrice,” not top-flight Bellini either musically or dramatically, deserves trotting out from time to time for some […]