Author Archive | Robert Levine

Rossini’s Operatic Swan Song, Guillaume Tell, At The Met

Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, N.Y. October 25, 2016—It has been 80 years since the Metropolitan Opera staged Rossini’s final opera, Guillaume Tell. A gigantic work lasting four-plus hours, here it is presented almost complete, with only a piece of ballet and a few recitatives omitted—about 15 minutes’ worth. The issue with it is not its […]

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Ailyn Perez Sings Glorious Mimi At The Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY, September 28, 2016—It’s always good to re-visit the Met’s production of La bohème, particularly when new singers have been called in to navigate the vast stage with Franco Zeffirelli’s stunning and gargantuan sets. Critics balk at the scale of the production, some claiming that the singers get lost in […]

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Mascagni’s Overwrought Iris Shines At Bard

The Fisher Center, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y; July 31, 2016—Although Mascagni’s Iris never achieved the popularity of the composer’s Cavalleria rusticana, within four years of its Rome premiere it had been heard in Milan, all over Europe, in South America, and in New York. To my ears, it comes in third in Mascagni’s oeuvre, after […]

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Daniel Catan’s Florencia Invigorates New York City Opera

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater; New York—The second installment in the New York City Opera’s hoped-for renaissance recently emerged victorious, unlike its ill-advised Tosca several months ago. Borrowing the production from Nashville Opera, it presented the New York premiere of Daniel Catan’s lush, neo-Romantic Florenzia en el Amazonas, which premiered in Houston in 1996 […]

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Camarena Conquers The Met Again In Donizetti Comedy

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; March 15, 2016—Don Pasquale, Donizetti’s final comic opera, and fifth from last of a list of almost 70, is a gem, dessert-like in its airiness, with a few poignant moments as well. Amid all of the familiar plot conventions involving tricking an old, foolish man out of his romantic […]

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A Welcome Latonia Moore in Met’s Butterfly

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; March 2, 2016—Four years ago I attended a Saturday matinee performance of Aida at the Met at which a soprano named Latonia Moore was announced moments before the curtain rose as a replacement for an indisposed colleague. A sturdy, handsome African-American woman, she had every bit the measure of […]

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Senseless War-Torn Manon Lescaut

Metropolitan Opera, New York; February 15, 2016—Manon as film noir femme fatale? Well, she certainly is selfish and leads her lover to ruin, but why on earth update the opera to the 1940s in Nazi-occupied France? For those who have seen quite enough Nazis in opera productions that do not call for fascism of any sort, […]

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New Voices In Met’s “Zeffirelli Bohème”

Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, NY; January 19, 2016–It’s always nice to check in with the Met’s opulent, extravagant, now-34-year-old production of La bohème, just one of two Franco Zeffirelli productions that remain (the other is his Turandot). Zeffirelli was one of the 20th century’s great directorial and design maximalists, and his production still produces “oohs” […]

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Opera Lafayette Presents Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica

The Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, December 1, 2015—Baroque opera is rarely performed in New York and when it is, it is normally by Handel. It is therefore doubly nice to have welcomed the Washington, D.C.- based Opera Lafayette to the city to present Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica. The libretto, by the […]

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Uneven New Cav/Pag at the Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; April 29, 2015—The Metropolitan Opera’s generations-old productions of opera’s most famous double bill has stood the company in good stead since 1970. Even those who referred to Franco Zeffirelli’s “finest poverty-stricken villages money can buy” couldn’t deny their effectiveness, but it was time for a change. The results are […]

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