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Archive | Opera Coverage

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Review: ‘An Operetta Holiday’ at The In Series

The In Series’ An Operetta Holiday, written and directed by Nick Olcott, is a charming aural journey through the era between opera and musicals. Four male and four female singers delivered a wonderful selection of twenty-nine songs from popular operettas. In the first act, we see the eight singers emerge on stage dressed in formal […]

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Colin Doyle. Photo by Don Valentino.

Review: ‘The Sea Cadet’ and ‘A Trip to Africa’ at Concert Operetta Theater

Concert Operetta Theater moved into new artistic territory with its November production of two unfamiliar operettas. Daniel Pantano’s Philadelphia company teamed up with a European organization led by Dario Salvi devoted to the preservation of neglected music. Their similar interests came together with a double bill of operettas not heard in America in a century. […]

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Review: ‘The Exterminating Angel’ at the Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera audiences, paying up to $393 for a ticket, can relate to the wealthy party guests in The Exterminating Angel. And so do some prestigious critics, who called this “the one opera to see this season.” Don’t they realize that they are being excoriated in this absurdist production? Don’t they see that the joke […]

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Alyson Cambridge. Photo by Andrew Ousley.

Review: ‘From the Diary of Sally Hemings’ at Unison Media

The New York premiere of William Bolcom’s composition, From the Diary of Sally Hemings, could not be more timely. With so much news focused on racial tensions, as well as the recent uproar over sexual aggression by powerful men, this piece explores the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave with whom he fathered six […]

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Review: ‘Alcina’ at The Washington National Opera

The Washington National Opera is now offering opera lovers the rare treat of a disarming and whimsical baroque opera, Alcina, by Composer George Frideric Handel. An opera, by default, is often a continually accelerating variation on a theme and–indeed–Alcina (with libretto by Riccardo Broschi) is no exception. Utilizing no less than twenty-four intensive yet reflective […]

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Review: ‘Little Women’ at Annapolis Opera

Little Women, composed and with a libretto by Mark Adamo and based on the book by Louisa May Alcott, sweeps into the Annapolis Opera with gusto. This opera, directed by Artistic Director and Conductor Ronald J. Gretz and Stage Director Braxton Peters, graces us with reflections of a life that was and a life that […]

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Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo courtesy The Metropolitan Opera.

Review: ‘Norma’ at The Metropolitan Opera and Live in HD

The new Metropolitan Opera production of Norma, which opened the company’s season, is the most intimate presentation of Vincenzo Bellini’s classic that I’ve ever seen. Norma is an impressive monument and has been called “the Mount Everest of operas.” Yet director David McVicar sees it as a family story, and conductor Carlo Rizzi conducts it […]

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Review: ‘Shining Brow’ at UrbanArias

Can an artist be true to his art as well as to his promises? Is destruction the price of creation? These are the questions at the heart of Shining Brow—music by Daron Hagen; liberetto by Paul Muldoon—and at the heart of the life of Frank Lloyd Wright on whom the story centers. Spanning 1903 to […]

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Sage DeAgro-Ruopp. Photo courtesy Curtis Institute of Music.

Review: ‘Impressions of Pelléas’ at the Curtis Institute of Music

Claude Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, is a unique masterpiece. But it’s very long: five acts, around four hours. So director and playwright Peter Brook in 1992 devised an adaptation called Impressions of Pelléas which runs 95 minutes, and which the Curtis Opera Theater presented last weekend. What sets Pelléas et Mélisande apart is its […]

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We Shall Not Be Moved, Wilma Theater, Opera Philadelphia

Review: ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ by Opera Philadelphia

The sole Philadelphia-based offering in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival is We Shall Not Be Moved. Its powerful message is that the city’s children, and particularly its black children, are deprived of decent education, housing and safety. The message is delivered with stirring music, impressive direction and excellent performances. This message is linked to the tragic […]

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War Stories, Opera Philadelphia

Review: ‘War Stories’ by Opera Philadelphia

War Stories is a clever pairing of two music dramas dealing with battles, presented by Opera Philadelphia as part of its O17 Festival. The two separate compositions are staged in adjacent areas of the Philadelphia Museum of Art — its stone cloisters and its Great Stair Hall — next to displays of medieval military armaments. Adding […]

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Maeve Höglund. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: World Premiere of ‘The Wake World’ by Opera Philadelphia

Inside a museum dedicated to art from the past, the O17 Festival has brought a new opera which celebrates musical and literary styles from the past. Composer/librettist David Hertzberg built upon musical forms from the same time period, a century ago, when Albert Barnes was acquiring his unique collection. This is a clever, site-specific staging […]

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Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: Sondra Radvanovsky in Recital at Opera Philadelphia

Sondra Radvanovsky’s recital as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival was a spectacular event. That may seem like an oxymoron to some readers, who expect singer/pianist recitals to be intimate communions. She is a tall, majestic-looking woman with a huge voice. Here she entered what was, for her, the unfamiliar territory of small-scaled personal communication, […]

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Daniela Mack. Photo by Steven Pisano.

Review: ‘Elizabeth Cree’ at Opera Philadelphia

The British statesman Winston Churchill coined the expression, “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” He was speaking of the Soviet Union. The quotation, however, also could be applied to Elizabeth Cree, the murder-mystery opera which had its world premiere Thursday night, launching Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival of five productions within […]

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Review: ‘Aida’ at Washington National Opera

Eternal, romantic love conquers all — even a jealous rival — in Verdi’s ravishingly melodic Aida, now being presented by the Washington National Opera with splendid work from all involved. Verdi’s soaring yet sensitive music pervades this production and is the prime reason for attending; indeed, the interpretation of this glorious music by the cast […]

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