Opera
Norma in Space

Norma in Space

Radvanovsky revives an opera classic  High priestess, secret mother, romantic consorter with the enemy: which soprano wouldn’t want to impersonate Bellini’s Norma? Aspiration and achievement, however, sometimes exhibit yawning disparity. The 1831 opera isn’t particularly long, but the role of Norma is almost unbearably lengthy, emotionally intense and pyrotechnic. At the Metropolitan Opera this month,...
Montemezzi’s La Nave at Teatro Grattacielo

Montemezzi’s La Nave at Teatro Grattacielo

Teatro Grattacielo Celebrates its 18th Anniversary with Montemezzi’s La Nave “Maybe you haven’t heard your favorite opera yet!” is the mission statement of Upper West Side-based Italian opera company Teatro Grattacielo. It comes as no surprise that this season wasn’t the first time most Manhattan opera-goers had the opportunity of attending La Traviata or Romeo...
Up with Tutus

Up with Tutus

Ballet music—one man’s evolution The older I get, the smarter, wiser and more talented Verdi becomes. Funny how it works that way. When I was about 15, Verdi was basically a purveyor of corny tunes accompanied by oompah-pah. How had he managed to compose that masterly requiem, amid those silly operas? These days, I stand...
A Heartbreaking Rigoletto

A Heartbreaking Rigoletto

Verdi’s Triumph On Screen In 1832, French authorities shut down Victor Hugo’s play Le Roi S’amuse—a portrait of absolute power gone dissolutely amok, set in the court of Francis I—the day after it opened. Composer Giuseppe Verdi, however, was so taken with the work that he used it as the basis for a libretto. Venetian...
Preview: Gerald Finley In Concert

Preview: Gerald Finley In Concert

Darkness and light resume their eternal dance in bass-baritone Gerald Finley’s recital Feb. 27 at Alice Tully, part of Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Song” series. Finley’s recital at Zankel Hall two years ago was a knockout. Now he’s returning to the New York recital stage with an entirely different program of 19th-, 20th- and...
Good News just in from New York City Opera

Good News just in from New York City Opera

Marilyn Assoluta: Tribute to a Bountiful Horne

Marilyn Assoluta: Tribute to a Bountiful Horne

The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s luncheon honoring Marilyn Horne Oct. 31 was admiring, affectionate and moving, but not syrupy—Horne herself wouldn’t have stood for that. The mezzo-soprano has been an irrepressible comedienne on stage and off, and is just as apt to be wry at her own expense as about any other topic. At the Guild’s...

Joan Sutherland: Becoming and Remembering

Last May, seven months after Dame Joan Sutherland died at age 83, the Metropolitan Opera Guild held a memorial tribute to her at Town Hall. It’s been at the back of my mind ever since: there was a lot to take in. A short video biography was aired. There was footage of live and television...
Opera Review: Nabucco at The Met

Opera Review: Nabucco at The Met

Elijah Moshinsky’s 2001 production of Verdi’s Nabucco is back in the Met repertory this season after a six-year hiatus, and it’s as deliciously garish as ever. The opera was Verdi’s third, but his first real hit, and it’s no wonder. Set in Jerusalem and Babylon in the 6th century BCE, the opera tracks the tale...
Don Giovanni at Mostly Mozart

Don Giovanni at Mostly Mozart

Two things mesmerized at the Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater the other night. This first-ever production of Don Giovanni at the venerable Mostly Mozart festival featured some of the loveliest, soaring, velvety voices imaginable, and strikingly innovative staging with the chorus members spray painted silver, and assuming poses as props and extras against a plain black...
When Ballet and Music Are Equal Partners

When Ballet and Music Are Equal Partners

Rodion Shchedrin at Lincoln Center, plus Koji Attwood at Mannes Early in its season, the Lincoln Center Festival highlighted the music of Rodion Shchedrin. Rather, the festival gave a taste of Shchedrin’s music—there’s a lot of it. He has become one of the most popular classical composers of today. Why’s that? For one thing, he’s...
Stranded in Neo-Classicism

Stranded in Neo-Classicism

When you get right down to it, much of ballet choreography could be considered simply a matter of putting venerable folk dance steps and patterns on pointe. And also when you get right down to it, much of Western literary and theatrical narrative over the last twomillennia can be viewed as a chronology of Greek...
Weirdness at the Winter Garden

Weirdness at the Winter Garden

Rufus Wainwright and City Opera join forces City Opera arranged one of the weirdest musical evenings I have ever attended. The evening was a combination of pretentiousness, vulgarity, sincerity and sweetness. City Opera dubbed it “Rufus Wainwright Goes to the Opera!” That exclamation point seems to try a little too hard. The event was part...
Rufus Wainwright Goes to the Opera

Rufus Wainwright Goes to the Opera

Thousands gathered in an atrium off the Hudson River last night to hear a free concert by Rufus Wainwright and friends. A diverse crowd of young and old sat in chairs, plopped down on steps, and stood where they could for a selection of Wainwright’s favorite arias, personal hits, and selections from his new opera Prima...

Let’s Hear It For the Words

Strauss’ ‘Capriccio’ is an ideal vocal and acting vehicle for Renée Fleming John Cox’s production of Richard Strauss’ Capriccio was revived this season at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time since its premiere in 1998—the first time the Met had ever performed it. Updated from the 18th-century to the 1920s, it supplied Renée Fleming with...

Lights of Old St. Petersburg

Karita Mattila returns as Lisa in ‘Queen of Spades’ The alienation of Gherman—paradigm of 19th-century Russian literature’s “superfluous man”—dominates the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Tchaikovsky’s 1890 The Queen of Spades. Designed by Mark Thompson, a giant picture frame forms an interior proscenium. Gherman frequently stands outside it, peering in at the society with which he’s...

A Very Deep Russian Voice

Vladimir Ognovenko, long associated with Varlaam in ‘Boris Godunov,’ remains fascinated with Mussorgsky’s interpretation The pressroom of the Metropolitan Opera almost shivers as bass Vladimir Ognovenko demonstrates different tones, resonances and textual responses to augment interview points he wants to make. In 2001, Ognovenko was called “Russia’s finest bass” by the late John Ardoin in...

Three Conductors and Two Violinists

And three orchestras and an OOMP Paavo Järvi is the son of Neeme Järvi, one of the most underrated conductors of our time—Neeme, I mean. Paavo is a conductor himself, and a very good one. (His brother, Kristjan, is also a conductor.) In recent years, he has visited New York with the chamber orchestra he...

Surround-Sound Spectacular

A Berlioz Requiem, a pianist and a soprano The stage of Carnegie Hall—which we are asked to call the Ronald O. Perelman Stage—was about as full as it could be. There was a healthy orchestra, with gleaming timpani on either side. Behind the orchestra, there was a massive chorus. What were they all gathered for,...

Netrebko Then & Now

The diva is perfectly suited for the hi-def days of opera Anna Netrebko is back onstage in New York this month in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Don Pasquale, and that’s good for the Met and it’s good for the art form itself. The Russian soprano galvanizes the public and makes opera something accessible as...

Found in Translation

English opera singer Mark Glanville’s most ambitious idea came to him in the middle of the night three years ago—to take Schubert’s song cycle, Die Winterreise, what he called “the greatest song cycle that’s ever been written,” and reinvent it in a Yiddish context.