Category Archives: Opera

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 […]

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 […]