Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg holds court at Glimmerglass


Contracts, like agreements, are often broken in opera as well as life, giving grist for good plotlines. And Grand Operas, like our constitution, are rightly to be re-interpreted with an elastic, contemporary understanding. “Don’t you agree?” So says Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with a twinkle in her eye. The Justice was at Glimmerglass […]

Ariadne in Naxos at Glimmerglass


It takes a confident and mature company like Glimmerglass to poke fun both at itself and the very form of opera. Ariadne in Naxos was, in many ways, both a celebration and a self-referential spoof of the entire “Glimmerglass family” that had gathered. The production was cast from past and present members of the Young […]

Madame Butterfly at Glimmerglass


I will wager, folks, that this year’s Glimmerglass production is the most dramatically sound, compellingly truthful, and emotionally wrenching Madame Butterfly that you will ever see. For my own part, by the time the fragile teenage-bride geisha, a girl known as “Butterfly,” was face-to-face alone with her charismatic if careless, naval officer husband, I was […]

A Fire in Water

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At Fringe, expect the unexpected, and I certainly did not expect a full-blown opera complete with classical Greek heroes and goddesses. A Fire in Water is a work that forges it all together. The production playing in the Lang Theatre at Atlas navigates pretty darn well between the Charybdis and Scylla of epic-style theatre and […]

Don Giovanni at Castleton Festival

(l-r) Brynn Johnson, Evan Williams,  Javier Arrey, Jennifer Black and Tyler Simpson  (Photo: Ray Boc

Don Giovanni lives! – unrepentant and unleashed – at Castleton Festival. The Festival has delivered the story of the world’s most famous reprobate with a terrific company, whose members pull off the tricky changes of dark and light tones of Mozart’s hefty work with remarkable facility – and the singing is top notch.

Madama Butterfly at Castleton Festival opening weekend


Opening the 2014 season, with Lorin Maazel scheduled to conduct, word came down from il Maestro himself that this production of Madama Butterfly was the “real thing.” The place was packed and the air was electric in Castleton Festival’s gigantic performance tent. (Certainly this was a different kind of electricity than had met me two […]

Nick Olcott’s chamber-sized La Traviata

The cast of InSeries' La Traviata

In this chamber version of Verdi’s classic opera, La Traviata, In Series dispenses with the pomp and melodrama to find the character study waiting underneath.

An American Soldier

Trevor Scheunemann as Sgt. Marcum and Andrew Stenson as Danny Chen (photo: Scott Suchman)

I arrived at Kennedy Center Friday night excited. A flag would be planted to An American Solider in a libretto by the accomplished playwright of American stage and screen, David Henry Hwang.

Bastianello and Lucrezia from UrbanArias

Alex Mansoori smitten by Catherine Martin through a confessional screen in Lucrezia (Photo courtesy of UrbanArias)

It’s delightful sitting in the audience knowing you’re about to write a rave. You relax knowing you have plenty to write. Words will come easily. And in the case of this weekend’s UrbanArias performance, you put your pen down and roll your head back laughing. John Musto’s Bastianello and William Bolcom’s Lucrezia, commissioned and first […]

The Magic Flute a whimsical delight

(l-r) John Easterlin, Katheryn Lewek, Jacquelin Echols, Sarah Mesko, and Deborah Nansteel  (Photo: Scott Suchman)

When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote The Magic Flute as a fairy tale fantasy he was seeking broad popular appeal. Washington National Opera has followed suit with this production, including programming a free simulcast at Nationals Park as part of their series – Opera in the Outfield. 

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