In Robert Lepage’s program notes for his production of an evening of Igor Stravinsky’s short musical fables, which opened in Toronto in 2009 and came to the Brooklyn Academy of Music a few weeks ago, the director remarks on how curious it is that, given the high style and complexity of opera in general and Read More
These days, when James Levine conducts, it makes a statement. And in the midst of a series of health-related cancellations over the past month, he left three opera performances conspicuously untouched. They weren’t the performances with the biggest stars, or even those with the most immediate implications for his career. In fact, they weren’t even Read More
The first opera production I ever saw was a Franco Zeffirelli production. As was the one after that. And the one after that.
If you started going to the Metropolitan Opera in the ’80s or ’90s, chances are that Mr. Zeffirelli’s work was the first thing you saw. After all, he directed the classic introductory Read More
Sometime in the fall of 1852, the composer Giuseppe Verdi decided that his next opera would be based on Alexandre Dumas’ play The Lady of the Camellias. The play, which had been a hit in Paris earlier that year, was a semi-autobiographical story about a high-end prostitute, her love for a young bourgeois gentleman and Read More
People tell Mia Bongiovanni that she has the best office at the Metropolitan Opera, and it is indeed impressive. It’s not large, but it’s high up, and on a corner, and with great views: down over Lincoln Center Theater and the new elevated lawn, on one side; on the other, across the main plaza and Read More
Don Carlo is Verdi’s longest opera, and perhaps his greatest. Sweeping and ambitious, a story of romantic, religious and political clashes at the 16th-century Spanish court, it is the most nuanced of the composer’s explorations of the interaction of private obsessions and public, even national, responsibilities. Aida, which followed it and which it resembles, may Read More
A recurring phrase in Rossini’s Armida, about a sorceress and her ill-fated love for a Christian soldier during the Crusades, is “Dove son io?”—“Where am I?” It was a question I kept asking myself, with increasing incredulity, as the opera wore its way through its rocky Metropolitan Opera premiere on Monday night.
There was Read More
Every time a Handel opera gets put on, it seems, people talk about a Baroque revival. Forget that it’s been almost 50 years since a landmark New York City Opera production of Giulio Cesare sparked American interest in the period. Or that it’s been almost 20 years since the Baroque group Les Arts Florissants brought Read More
To be, or not to be, wasn’t the most urgent question surrounding the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet, which opened last week. The question was, rather, what would happen to a diva vehicle that had lost its diva. The reason for bringing the opera to the Met, which had not performed it Read More
William Kentridge’s The Nose teems with text. The famed visual artist’s production of Shostakovich’s early masterpiece—about a government functionary who one day awakes to find his nose inexplicably vanished—marks the first time the work has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera. For the occasion, Mr. Kentridge has created a whole new curtain, proscenium and backdrop filled Read More