Category Archives: Music

THE MET’S AGRIPPINA: STELLAR MUSIC, UNFORTUNATE STAGING

Librettist Vincenzo Grimani had a wonderful idea for a comic opera: a neo-classical comedy of manners featuring history’s most monstrous tyrants as the main characters! The comic incongruity would be enormous, as  the murderous, depraved butchers of Rome’s ancient past acted with impeccable decorum and good taste. Imagine seeing Nero and his court in a […]

THE MET’S PORGY AND BESS: It’s Got Plenty of Vigor and Talent

The distinguished opera historian and critic Charles Osborne considers George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess to be “the most successful American contribution to twentieth century opera.”[i] Like all works for the stage, the final product is the result of a collaboration among many creative artists working to transform the play Porgy into a musical work. The […]

ON STAGE FAVORITES: 2010-2020

The fast-fading decade offered many memorable stage experiences. Here are my favorites: NEW PLAYS: GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY – The New York Public Theater KING CHARLES III – Chicago Shakespeare BURNING BLUEBEARD – The Rufffians ASSASSINATION THEATER –  Museum of Broadcast Communication GRAND CONCOURSE – Steppenwolf Theatre THE HUMANS – The American TheaterCompany SMOKEFALL […]

THE MET’S AKHNATEN: A HYMN TO THE TRUE LIGHT

When Philip Glass’ Akhnaten first appeared in 1984, the New York Daily News was moved to label Mr. Glass “the Ronald Reagan of composers. This time around,  no one is thinking of Ronald Reagan after experiencing the Glass/Kamensek/McDermott/Pollard/Pay  production at the Metropolitan Opera. Instead, the words ”breathtaking”, “hypnotic”, “gorgeous”, “luscious”, “overwhelming”, and “beautiful,” are most […]

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 […]