Category Archives: Opera

CARMEN IN WILLIAMSBURG

Following a decade of teaching Biblical Hebrew to college students, one should welcome retirement as a time to catch one’s breathe and enjoy the easy things of life. Not so for Naama  Zahavi-Ely. Professor Zahavi-Ely decided that her retirement needed her to found a new opera company. At a time when the most established opera […]

THE MET’S LUISA MILLER: A TALE OF THREE FATHERS

Tragedy has been defined as a family destroyed and comedy as a family being created. Due to his own tragic experiences, Giuseppe Verdi was always interested in putting families on stage. The deaths of his children and his first wife had a profound and permanent effect on Verdi. In addition, he was a dutiful son […]

THE MET’S COSI FAN TUTTE: MOZART IN A BOX

During the overture, and before a gaudy show curtain, the canary-colored zoot-suited con man Don Alfonso, presents his co-conspirator and inamorata Despina with a magician’s bouquet of flowers and a very large travelling box, tied up with a bow. She hits him with the flowers, but helps him remove the bow and open the gift […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S LUCIA: DON’T MISS THIS ROMANTIC TRAGEDY

What one sees on the Harrison Opera House stage with Lucia Di Lammermoor (1835) represented an historic change in tragic storytelling. It is also an opera production you should not miss, whether you are a seasoned opera-goer, or a would-be rookie thinking about trying out the art for the first time. In Lucia, the hero […]

The Met’s SEMIRAMIDE: Glorious Singing

Shakespeare’s great comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not the only drama with a scene set at “Ninny’s Tomb.” When the rude mechanicals enact “The Most Lamentable Comedy, and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisby,” Bottom and Snug mispronounce King Ninus’ tomb as “King “Ninny’s Tomb”. There is no mistaking King Ninus’ Tomb in […]

THE MET’S LA BOHEME: DEATH COMES TO NEVERLAND

A band of lost boys, living high above the twentieth century’s urban world, who won’t grow up, led by a free spirit unable to trust the love of the girl who loves him totally. J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan? Think again. Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme. Imagine Peter cradling a dying Wendy in his arms and you […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S DREAM: THE MYSTICISM OF HAPPINESS

The great British essayist G. K. Chesterton considered Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be a masterful presentation of “the mysticism of happiness.” He went on to explain: “That is to say, it is the conception that when a man lives upon a borderland he may find himself in the spiritual or supernatural atmosphere, not […]

THE MET’S TOSCA: GRAND RETURNS TO THE OPERA

Sonya Yoncheva’s Violetta was the heart of the most beautiful and exciting event I have ever seen on the stage – Willy Decker’s essentialist La Traviata, with Michael Fabiano (Alfredo) and Thomas Hampson (Germont), so the prospect of seeing Yoncheva’s Floria Tosca was greatly anticipated, to say the least. Decker’s Traviata realized that Dumas’ story, […]

LES MIS: THE ENERGIZER MUSICAL

The musical Les Misérables premiered on  September 24,1980; Duracell’s Energizer Bunny debuted nine years later, but unlike the pink bunny, Schonberg’ and Boubil’s musical keeps getting stronger and stronger. Over 70 million people in 44 countries never grow tired of this magical stage work. (Aside from Hamlet, Kathleen and I have seen Les Mis more […]

PARIS OPERA’S LA BOHEME: LOST IN SPACE

Thanks to Medici TV we were able to watch a live broadcast performance of Puccini’s La Boheme from the Opera Bastille in Paris. German stage director Claus Guth has buried Puccini’s story beneath at least three other plots and stories, none of which have anything to do with the Bohemians of Paris at the end […]