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At Last–A Glorious Butterfly At The Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; April 9, 2014—The Met’s remarkably beautiful and touching production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, directed by the late Anthony Minghella and his wife Carolyn Choa on Michael Levine’s evocative, minimalist sets, debuted on opening night, 2006. With its overhead mirror, shiny stage floor, silently moving paper walls, brilliantly colored costumes […]

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Superbly Sung Sonnambula At The Met

Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, NY; March 25, 2014—Opera lovers are fully aware that the plot of Vincenzo Bellini’s La sonnambula is threadbare and silly: When a Swiss village girl (Amina) is found asleep in a stranger’s (Count Rodolfo’s) room at an inn, she gets ensnared in a jealousy triangle (Lisa, the innkeeper, is in love […]

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Bryn Terfel, Emma Thompson in Sondheim’s “Sweeney”

Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, NY; March 5, 2014—A limited run (five performances) of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, led by Alan Gilbert with the New York Philharmonic, practically turned out to be the season’s hottest operatic ticket so far. Billed as a staged performance, albeit in Avery Fisher Hall, director Lonny Price, an old hand […]

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Philippe Jaroussky Wins The Battle

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; February 25, 2014—Thirty-six year old, cherubic-looking Philippe Jaroussky is the only countertenor (so far) with superstar status. Unlike most in his voice category he is not an alto, either in texture or range, and while the voice is small (certainly moreso than David Daniels’ or David Hansen’s), it has […]

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Jonas Kaufmann As Werther At The Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; February 18, 2014— The Met’s new production of Massenet’s weepy Werther is its first in 42 years; the occasion, one must presume, is the availability of tenor Jonas Kaufmann. He is stepping into shoes worn by Franco Corelli, Placido Domingo, Alfredo Kraus, Neil Shicoff, and Roberto Alagna and he […]

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Sarah Joy As Herself–At Le Poisson Rouge

Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St, NY; February 11, 2014–The last time New York heard the lovely soprano Sarah Joy Miller was in the final throes of the lamented New York City Opera: she was singing the title role in its splendid production of Anna Nicole, and she was impressive. The role is very long […]

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Tsujii and Orpheus Crown the “Emperor”

Carnegie Hall, New York, January 25, 2014—All Beethoven program: Coriolan Overture; Symphony No. 2; Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”, Nobuyuki Tsujii, piano; Orpheus Chamber Orchestra—It may sound cynical to say so, but I have no doubt that at least some members of the sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall waiting to see blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii […]

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New Voices in Met’s L’elisir

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; January 13, 2014—Bartlett Sher’s just-a-season-old production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore is back at the Met, with its handsome if predictable, flat, painted sets by Michael Yeargan and mostly-lovely costumes by Catherine Zuber. Sher said last season that he was setting the opera in Italy (and not “the Basque country”) […]

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The Met’s New Fledermaus–A Bat Out of Hell

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; January 7, 2014—Johann Strauss’ supple, witty Die Fledermaus has invariably fared well at the Met: the 1950 production was one of Rudolf Bing’s great successes and it was not until 1986 that it was replaced by a handsome one designed by Günther Schneider-Siemssen and artfully directed by Otto Schenk. […]

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A Joyous Falstaff At The Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; December 18, 2013—There are some very fine operas that can be thrown together by a batch of professional singers and a good conductor and orchestra; Falstaff isn’t one of them. It has to be assembled with care, musically and textually, each character has to be treated like an individual, […]

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