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 be a living document. OK, so maybe the numbers at  ...

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 (all due respect to “Moby Dick,” “Street Scene” and a  ...

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 and Joan Sutherland, it is a treat for the ear,  ...

Advanced Style

      It's Fashion Week in New York--when isn't it?--and the pages of the New York Times feature the new styles daily. And, of course, they're all modeled by women barely out of their teens. I'm hardly alone in my annoyance at the fact that  ...

The Whaleship Essex

  Tales of the whale—the commercial treasure and leviathan of the sea—and the sailors who set out in wooden ships to hunt them, are endlessly fascinating. Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” stands as one of the great adventure stories of world literature. A story that inspired Melville is being staged now  ...

My Name Is Asher Lev

  Asher Lev is an artist, a round-faced, cherubic artist whose paintings horrify his deeply religious Hasidic parents and community. “My gift is demonic and divine. It has the power to hurt and the power to heal,” he says at the end of this eloquent 90-minute rumination on the challenges  ...

A Letter to Momo (2011)

The award-winning children’s anime film, “A Letter to Momo,” delicately explores the emotional struggles of an eleven year-old girl, Momo Miyaura, who ultimately conquers adversity and gains strength and courage. Mr. Okiura uses beautiful, elegant pastel hand-drawings with a soft touch that match the mood of the film and help  ...