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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 […]

The Met When It’s Good

The Met When It’s Good

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | It’s a real if rare pleasure to walk out of the Metropolitan Opera thinking, “That was an extraordinary performance, worthy of the company’s highest legacy.” I felt that after — and indeed during — February 20’s “Parsifal.” Wagner’s final opera deals meaningfully in redemptive miracles; above all what mattered here was Yannick […]

Bernstein’s Centennial & Local Gems

Bernstein’s Centennial & Local Gems

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The year 2018 will mark Leonard Bernstein’s centenary, so expect multiple unveilings of his music theater pieces. The Philadelphia Orchestra’s welcomely out Canadian maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in pec-flaunting casual clothes, led off the celebration October 12 with a concert staging of “West Side Story.” The edition cut much dialogue and several non-singing […]

“Dutchman” Flies Under Nezet-Seguin’s Baton

“Dutchman” Flies Under Nezet-Seguin’s Baton

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | The Metropolitan Opera proved a good place to be on May 4, at the third performance given this season of Wagner’s “transitional” opera “Der fliegende Hollaender” (“The Flying Dutchman.”) Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the youthful, out gay Canadian anointed as the company next music director, achieved fine results in the pit, approaching the score […]

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 […]

Three Tenors

Three Tenors

  BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Tenors do not need to come in threes, but recent weeks have seen three major exponents of high-voiced repertory gracing local stages. One of these — the late-blooming Polish star Piotr Beczala — would be on anyone’s list of great operatic singers active today. The other two — Russell Thomas and […]

Opera’s Birthday Boys

Opera’s Birthday Boys

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Washington National Opera’s season started impressively with an uncomplicated but visually pleasing “Tristan und Isolde” staging imported from Sydney. Brian Thomson’s clever unit set presented a liminal, bridge-like space evocatively lit by Rory Dempster, and Neil Armfield’s direction didn’t intrude or force other agendas on the text. The end, however, ineffectively found […]