La Forza del Destino – Giuseppe Verdi

La Forza del Destino announces its intended theme forcefully in its title, but it really doesn't deliver. The libretto is a mess, a poorly structured story in which unbelievable coincidences, dead characters returning to duel again (in this production, anyway), and single-minded motivations destroy any possibility of suspension of  ...

La Favorite – Gaetano Donizetti

Ariel Bybee Inez, Maria Luisa Nave in the title role of La Favorita, San Francisco Opera, 1973 Throughout the San Francisco Opera's production of La Favorite, there are seven larger-than-life figures of saints mounted high up on floor-to-ceiling poles, looming over the the entire opera's proceedings.  ...

Esperanza – David Bishop

For weeks prior to the show’s opening, the city of Madison was abuzz with anticipation about Esperanza, a professionally mounted opera that had its world premiere August 25, 2000 at Old Music Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus. An opera premiere is unusual enough for Madison, but Esperanza  ...

Central Park

.. Lauren Flanigan, playing a homeless, unwed mother carrying her infant, sings: "You all pretend you are not in the same park with us." In that moment the park morphs into metaphor for a larger geography - the place where humanity resides and, in the context of this new  ...

Carmen – Georges Bizet

Mexico City, Opera Nacional de Mexico September 21 - October 1 The scene is a dusty street in nineteenth-century Seville, filled with lazy soldiers, posturing Latin lovers, self-conscious cigarette girls, singing in French and working much too hard to put it over. “But where is our Carmencita?”  ...

Madame Butterfly – Giacomo Puccini

Suggested reading: Giacomo Puccini (1997), Conrad Wilson Puccini (1996), Peter Southwell-Sander Nineteenth Century Italian Opera from Rossini to Puccini (1995), Daniele Pistone Operas of Puccini (1985), William Ashbrookan Online references on Madame Butterfly  ...

Billy Budd – Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten: Billy Budd (Cambridge Opera Handbooks) Online references on Benjamin Britten Herman Melville's novella, Billy Budd, published posthumously in 1924, is an allegory, a tale pitting the goodness of the title character, a young seaman, against  ...

Barber of Seville San Francisco

San Francisco Opera October 31-November 30, 2006 War Memorial Opera House San Francisco Nathan Gunn can give me a haircut any time. The hunky baritone is the best looking (and sounding) thing in San Francisco Opera’s “Barber of Seville,” playing through Nov. 30 at the War Memorial  ...