Author Archive | Robert Levine

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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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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Brilliant, Glistening “Frau” at the Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; November 20, 2013—Operas do not come any more peculiar than Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten: three hours of music played by a gigantic orchestra; at least five solo parts that are a trial for any fine singer; and a libretto that while not exactly senseless, is certainly not coherent […]

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Boito’s Devil, Somewhat Weakened, At Carnegie

Carnegie Hall, NY; November 6th, 2013—Some operas lend themselves to concert performances—the bel canto works, in which there can be a great deal more “canto” than action are in that category, to be sure. An opera like Boito’s Mefistofele, which was recently presented at Carnegie Hall by the Collegiate Chorale and American Symphony Orchestra under […]

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Muhly’s Two Boys An Enigma

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; October 30th, 2013—We now all agree that the Internet can be used sordidly and cruelly, but Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, which opened at the Met a couple of weeks ago, looks at it as it was in the year 2000 in a dreary industrial town in England. Chat-rooms (a […]

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Dreamy Britten At The Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; October 15th, 2013—The Met’s meager celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centenary consists of a revival of his A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed in 1996 by Tim Albery and designed by Antony McDonald. The opera itself takes a bit of getting-to-know; Britten and Peter Pears used only Shakespeare’s text (albeit cutting […]

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