Faust – Charles Gounod

Inspired by Michel Carre’s 1850 stageplay Faust et Marguerite, Charles Gounod’s Faust was first staged in Paris in 1859, a time and place of political unease and outright war. A key character in the libretto is Marguerite’s brother Valentin,  ...

Das Rheingold – Richard Wagner

Washington National Opera General Director Placido Domingo and guest director Francesca Zambello have launched what they are calling The American Ring with their 2005-2006 production of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. Except for the Native American style costuming of Erda,  ...

Lysistrata – Mark Adamo

Lysistrata -Mark Adamo Illustration from Lysistrata by Aubrey Beardsley Buy it at Art.com  Lysistrata or The Nude Goddess by Mark Adamo is opera buffa with a tremolo of serious drama. Commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera and Opera  ...

Porgy and Bess – George Gershwin

The community at Catfish Row, including the cripple Porgy, sexpot Bess, thug Crown, and drug-dealer Sportin’ Life, spring to life in Washington National Opera’s new production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The credit for this stunning success lies with  ...

Norma – Vincenzo Bellini

Norma, the eighth of Bellini's slim output of ten operas (compare to Rossini's 38, Donizetti's 65), is widely acknowledged as his masterpiece, a work in which he retained the melodic beauty and vocal elegance of the bel canto style,  ...

Doctor Atomic – John Adams

John Donne: Holy Sonnet XIV Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend Your force to break, blow, burn,  ...

I Vespri Siciliani – Giuseppe Verdi

The music of Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani opens majestically and alternates in turn with playful and emotionally dark interludes. Coming after Rigoletto, Il Travatore, and La Traviata, Vespri, infrequently performed in the contemporary repertory, offers the work of the mature  ...

The Italian Girl in Algiers – Gioachino Rossini

In the nineteen years from 1810 to 1829, Rossini composed an astounding thirty-eight operas. The Italian Girl in Algiers, which was written in twenty-seven days, premiered in Venice in 1813, when Rossini was all of twenty-one years old, and  ...

H.M.S. Pinafore – W.S. Gilbert/Arthur Sullivan

Buy the HMS Pinafore poster at barewalls.com In 1871, playwright William S. Gilbert (1836-1911) began writing satiric musicals with composer Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900). Trained as a lawyer, Gilbert had previously published wickedly funny doggerel, the  ...