Category Archives: Music

LYRIC OPERA CHICAGO : THE OLD BARBER HAS STILL GOT IT

The history of what is popularly called Italian opera began in the United States with a performance of Rossini’s lyrical comedy “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”, The Barber of Seville. The place was the Park Theatre, then situated in Chambers Street, east of Broadway, and the date November 29, 1825.[i] It was Manuel Garcia’s troupe that […]

THE MET’S MANON: THE “ETERNAL WOMAN” RETURNS

Jules Massenet (1842-1912) premiered  his new opera,  Manon,  on 19 January 1884 at Paris’ Opera Comique, the home to the city’s middle-class audience, an audience accustomed to the spoken dialogue featured in Massenet’s work. It was a hit. “Those who do not object on principle to being entertained in the opera house, rather than hectored, […]

THE METS TURANDOT: THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE

The first time Turandot played at the Metropolitan Opera was on November 16, 1926.  J.W. Henderson of the New York Sun observed that “this is an opera in which the eye and the ear must be equally absorbed.” The great Viennese architect and designer Joseph Urban had provided the scenery. He was a pioneer of […]

KENNEDY CENTER’S HELLO DOLLY – LOOK AT THE OLD GIRL NOW!

A great performance always seems fresh-minted. That certainly is the case with Ms. Betty Buckley at the Kennedy Center. In fact, her character,  Dolly Gallagher Levi, first appeared during playwright Thornton Wilder’s 1935 trip to Europe. As he considered the comedies of Austria’s popular 19th century playwright Johann Nestroy, he wondered if an American version […]

STC’s ORESTEIA: 5% AESCHYLUS (95% MCLAUGHLIN)

Aeschylus’ trilogy The Oresteia stands as one of the pillar’s of Western Civilization. The three plays together mark society’s turn from a collection of families and clans whose personal interests dominate to the polis, the city, for which justice must mean more than individual retribution. In the process, the gods lead the way; humans are […]