Category Archives: Music

VA ARTS FESTIVAL’S ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA: HAIL, FLORENT SCHMITT! HAIL, JOANN FALLETTA!

Florent Schmitt? The name would give even the most learned musicologist pause to retrieve the name from the dustbin of musical history. Enter JoAnn Falletta. Virginia’s beloved maestra is as devoted to recovering forgotten masterpieces as she is to the presentation of new works. So, it should come as no surprise that Florent Schmitt should […]

THE MET OPERA’S DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES : OPERA’S DIVINE LADDER OF ASCENT

 Sixteen days after John Dexter’s  1977 production of  Dialogues des Carmélites (Dialogues of the Carmelites)    opened at the Metropolitan Opera a detonated tear gas canister in the lobby forced the 4,000 members of the audience to evacuate the building. Suddenly fear was not just a theme in Mr. Poulenc’s great opera about the human struggle with […]

OPERA IN WILLIAMSBURG’S DIE ZAUBERFLOTE: MUSICAL MAGIC

Bernard Shaw considered Mozart’s ZAUBERFLOTE, The Magic Flute, to be “the first oratorio of the religion of humanity.” On the other hand, opera historian Gustav Kobbe considers the libretto to the Magic Flute “such a jumble of nonsense that it is as well to endeavor to extract some sense from it.”[i] Nothing perplexes viewers as […]

THE MET’S DIE WALKURE: A SUBLIME RETURN TO THE HEART OF THE FIRST RING

With an opera production as overwhelming as Robert Lepage’s Die Walkure at the Metropolitan Opera, adjectives seem unable to capture the majesty and profundity of the experience. “Spectacular”? “Magnificent”? “Sublime”? All of those and more. And in the most difficult of all art forms. Opera has so many variables subject to personal disposition, physical strength, […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S MADAMA BUTTERFLY WORKS PUCCINI MAGIC

Madama Butterfly, the lovely opera presented by the Virginia Opera,  began as a stage hit, but took a rollercoaster ride to its pre-eminence as a world-favorite opera. The crowd-pleasing Virginia Opera production of Madama Butterfly carried traces of the opera’s long and unpredictable historic journey to Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House. As near perfection as anything […]