Category Archives: Opera

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 […]

THE MET’S LA FILLE DU REGIMENT: ALMOST PERFECT

With seven operas by the young upstart  Italian  composer opening within a year, the French composers of Paris had had enough. Speaking for his aggrieved colleagues, Hector Berlioz wrote, Mr. Donizetti seems to treat us like a conquered country; it is a veritable invasion n. One can no longer speak of the opera houses of […]

VIRGINIA OPERA OFFERS A RADIANT ELIXIR OF LOVE

I first heard about elixirs of love in 1959 when, through my transistor radio, I heard Jed Lieber’s words about that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth She’s got a pad on Thirty-Fourth and Vine Sellin’ little bottles of Love Potion Number Nine While a new idea to me at the time, the concept of a […]

The MET OPERA: CARMEN AS MORALITY PLAY

Each performance  is custom-made. Unlike film, when stage actors meet before a new audience anything is possible. As the playwright Herb Gardner noted, There is a chance each time the curtain goes up of glory and disaster, the actors and the audience will take each other somewhere, neither knows where for sure.[i] And that magical […]

THE MET OPERA’S ADRIANA LECOUVREUR: NETREBKO IS MELPOMENE

At the end of Francesco Cilea’s 1902 opera Adriana Lecouvreuer librettist Arturo Colautti adds a passage not found in the original 1849 play Adrienne Lecouvreur  by Eugene Scribe and Ernest Legouve. As the great actress dies, Colautti presents her as hallucinating: Stand aside, Philistines! I am Melpomene! Behold the Light that leads me on, That […]