10-Barihunk-cr9 Oct 2016

Seduction With Words And Music: Don Giovanni

No such dilemmas about sex in the other major achievement of Santa Fe’s opera season: Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a production by Ron Daniels, conducted with brio by John Nelson. The production comes with a star turn by both of the rascals, Don Giovanni and Leporello, master and servant, Daniel Okulitch and Kyle Ketelsen, playing off each other with obvious pleasure and panache. American baritone Okulitch made the cover of Opera News this summer, and

5-ridicule-cr22 Sep 2016

Seduction With Words And Music : Capriccio

What comes first in opera, what gets the pride of place: words or music? Prima le parole, doppo la musica? Or, Prima la musica, doppo le parole? The question was hotly debated throughout the history of opera, and in 1930, the German Jewish writer Stefan Zweig suggested it to Richard Strauss as the very topic of an opera. Zweig wasn’t able to write the libretto, the Nazis prevented that, but with a patchwork of librettists

10-Erika-ball-cr20 Sep 2016

Samuel Barber’s “Vanessa”

Vanessa is considered a "Gothic" opera because Barber's partner, Gian Carlo Menotti (the composer and librettist), wrote the libretto inspired by the "Seven Gothic Tales" by Isak Dinesen, pen name for the great Danish storyteller Karen Blixen, who was a "dear friend" of the two men and was very much en vogue at the time. There are faint echoes of these stories inVanessa ("The Monkey," “Supper At Elsinor”), but the tale spun out by Menotti

2016-06-16-1466109677-9938025-Sungarden-thumb10 Jul 2016

“Don Carlo”- Star-Studded Night at the Opera

Verdi’s Don Carlo has it all: passion and politics, the combat between church and stage, a mortal father-son conflict, a romance of broken hearts, dangerous jealousies, and a youth rebellion for freedom. It’s a great, almost Wagnerian epic of 4 ½ hours that drives into its characters with psychological brilliance and a musical mastery that never stops astounding and thrilling our modern ears. Read the entire review

2016-06-22-1466631924-2430577-JenufaMattila23 Jun 2016

Janacek’s ‘Jenufa’ at SF Opera: End of the Season(s)

I’ve always had a particular fondness for San Francisco Opera’s trio of Summer Operas. They have at times been creatively grouped under a theme like “Gamble of Love” or “Summer of Madness.“ Outgoing General Director David Gockley’s final summer trio once again was a blast. A scandalous Carmen (which I called high-end Eurotrash), Verdy’s Don Carlo (star-studded with spectacular singers) and finally a bold leap into the 20zh century with Janacek’s Jenufa. Read the entire