Dido and Aeneas/Bluebeard’s Castle, LA Opera

Why pair Baroque "Dido and Aeneas" with Bartok's 20th century "Bluebeard's Castle"? According to program notes by director Barrie Kosky of the Komische Oper Berlin they have much in common. His most convincing argument is that they are "two operas  ...

Tosca, SF Opera

Take one good-looking couple, she a fantastic soprano and he a very good tenor, add a not-very-threatening villain, a heavy-handed conductor, mix well and bake for a little over two hours. What comes out of the oven is San Francisco  ...

Partenope, SF Opera

Near the end of Act I of this decidedly comic British production of “Partenope,” in its company premiere at San Francisco Opera, a breeze wafts through an open window, billowing the diaphanous curtain in seductive swirls. That undulating fabric is  ...

Un Ballo in Maschera, SF Opera

What better way to celebrate the birthday of Giuseppe Verdi than with his famous costume party? And so it was that I found myself on October 10 at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House raising a metaphorical glass to  ...

La Traviata, LA Opera

The question: To be or not to be faithful to the original setting of an opera is known to evoke passions as intense as those expressed by the originalists fighting with the rest of us who think the Constitution should  ...

Susannah, SF Opera

“Ain’t it a pretty night,” sings the soprano and, whenever “Susannah” is in town, the night is more than pretty. It’s gorgeous. Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 work, written when he was only 27, may be the quintessential American opera  ...

Norma, SF Opera

Bel canto means “beautiful singing” and that’s what you get in San Francisco Opera’s new production of Bellini’s “Norma.” With the fantastic American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role, once utterly owned by the likes of Maria Callas  ...

The Year of the Understudy at Santa Fe Opera

Two-thousand fourteen may be remembered at Santa Fe Opera as the year of the understudy. First there was Shelley Jackson, a second-year apprentice, stepping in as Norina, the female lead in “Don Pasquale.” Laura Tatulescu, the soprano originally cast in  ...

Don Pasquale, Santa Fe

Laurent Pelly’s take on “Don Pasquale” this summer at Santa Fe Opera is tight, funny and physical. With only five characters and no chorus, this narrowly focused opera allows for each individual voice, and actor, to shine. Beyond that, thanks  ...

Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader

“Carmen” and “Don Pasquale” may be alternating onstage at the opera this weekend, but that won’t stop cast members in the two operas from fraternizing. Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader, who are playing, respectively, the title role in “Carmen,” and  ...