Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, SF Opera

I don’t know why, but every time I hear the four mighty chords that begin Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger,” tears come to my eyes. Perhaps it’s the sheer grandeur of this music. But this is not the grandeur of the gods  ...

The Magic Flute, SF Opera

To the many interpretations of “The Magic Flute,” San Francisco Opera has added one with the distinction of looking like an animated cartoon. The company’s current production, which debuted in 2012, appears by turns Disney, Looney Tunes, and Hanna-Barbera; it  ...

La bohème

Australian director Benedict Andrews has a new production of La bohème  currently showing at the ENO which adds a controversial twist to the original Puccini opera. Oftentimes when the word "contemporary" is slammed together with words like "new production" audiences  ...

Lucia di Lammermoor, SF Opera

Sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad, and San Francisco Opera’s new production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” has plenty of both. First the good news: the singing is pretty terrific and that’s what opera is  ...

Barber of Seville

  The second production of the ENO’s new season, shown on the same week as "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," is Jonathan Miller's twelve revival of "The Barber of Seville." It is Rossini’s most celebrated comic opera based on the play  ...

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

The ENO began its 2015/16 opening season with Shostakovich’s ‘tragic – satire opera’ Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1934) which caused Stalin to walk out during a performance and led to a scathing review in Russia’s political newspaper Pravda. Directed by  ...

Luisa Miller, SF Opera

In an irony that surely makes the god Momus snicker, San Francisco Opera bestowed its Opera Medal for Artistic Excellence upon director/designer Francesca Zambello in the same week that her production of "Luisa Miller" limped in as the opener of  ...

Sweeney Todd, SF Opera

I must confess I have always preferred my horror on an intimate scale. That means a television set rather than a multiplex and, most particularly, Stephen Sondheim’s macabre masterwork, “Sweeney Todd,” as a chamber opera, rather than a Broadway musical.  ...

Gianni Schicchi & Pagliacci

For the opening of its 30th anniversary season, the LA Opera has turned to Hollywood for a 2 hour and 40 minute double bill: Woody Allen's production of "Gianni Schicchi" and Franco Zeffirelli's "Pagliacci." The Chandler was packed for opening  ...

Heart of Darkness

A "dark" subject drawn from a famous book. A US premiere from an opera from the other side of the pond. Prestige. Glamour. Well, many operas and films aren't that different from people.They look or sound profound, but aren't.  ...