Better Gods, new opera reveals Hawaii’s last queen, from WNO

Washington National Opera’s Better Gods brings a mostly unknown chapter in Hawaiian history onto the stage at the Kennedy Center, telling the story of Queen Lili’uokalani, the island nation’s last monarch, with dignity and high artistic values. I imagine the Hawaiian “better gods” are happy.

Catone in Utica from Opera Lafayette (review)

There’s much to learn watching a production being remounted by essentially the same team. The riches and new challenges proved fascinating in the rarity of Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica that played for two performances this past weekend at the Kennedy Center.

Appomattox at Washington National Opera

Philip Glass has been called by some the greatest living composer.  His new work, Appomattox, received a world premiere in its expanded and revised state by Washington National Opera on Saturday. It is bold, sweeping, dreamlike, socially relevant, and ultimately deeply spiritual.

Isango Ensemble performs a fiery South African version of Carmen

There is a Carmen for everyone. This production of Georges Bizet’s opera is from South African townships around Capetown welded by the most spirited Isango Ensemble. They have made the work their own from the marimba orchestra in which all the performers participate to the African dance steps and occasionally native-language songs thrown in the […]

As One, transgender opera from UrbanArias (review)

Pulsing music from a string quartet becomes a cinematic soundtrack to footage of green water swiftly flowing. The images change to handlebars while on stage a seated man pedals the air, the baritone singing ecstatically “Like every other boy, I have a paper route!”

From creation of transgender opera, As One, to UrbanArias’ quick embrace

“This project has changed me completely,” Laura Kaminsky told me, “as an artist and as a composer. It’s been an amazing experience so far. For months, I was taking Hannah’s spirit everywhere with me. She was haunting our household.”

A smashing Carmen at Washington National Opera (review)

If opera is meant to be a true synthesis, bringing together the many art forms of music, singing, dance, acting, and the visual arts, then Washington National Opera’s Carmen has created a smashing “top drawer” example. For their sixtieth season opener, the company has rolled out the ever popular Georges Bizet opera but made the […]

Opera singer Eric Owens, from Glimmerglass Festival to Washington National Opera

I interviewed Eric Owens, the world-renowned bass-baritone, in the beautiful surroundings of Glimmerglass Festival. He had just come off a performance of Verdi’s Macbeth two nights before and was preparing to work with singers from the Young Artists Program. Soon he would be appearing alongside Artistic Director Francesca Zambello pre-show to greet audiences and encourage […]

Glimmerglass Festival: no better place for The Magic Flute and Candide

On this the fortieth anniversary of the Glimmerglass Festival, Artistic Director Francesca Zambello has delivered to us two big valentines of shows: Mozart’s much beloved work The Magic Flute and Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.

A haunting Macbeth at Glimmerglass Festival

The general understanding in theatre is that there is a curse on Shakespeare’s Scottish play. I wonder in Anne Bogart’s new operatic production at Glimmerglass Festival, despite some wonderful singing, whether some of that curse didn’t leak over to create a bit of a soggy mash of an interpretation of Verdi’s opera.

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