What makes an opera sing?

boheme caffritz2

Two different casts, two different audiences, two different experiences for La bohème What makes an opera sing? There are so many elements that must come together in this art form. Even within a single production, with different casts, (often the case at Washington National Opera as other opera companies) or even on different evenings with […]

Washington National Opera’s La bohème


Giacomo Puccini’s abiding tale of tragic love proved its unassailable endurance as the Washington National Opera’s restrained, ashen La bohème received an enthusiastic standing ovation at the Kennedy Center on opening night.

He’s deeply in love with its score. Director Peter Kazaras talks about La boheme


We are sitting in the chic white leather Russian Room at The Kennedy Center during a rehearsal break. Director Peter Kazaras has brought his bound score and throughout our conversation pours through it, reeling off Italian while getting into each character, getting me to look at the score, handling it like it’s his Bible. It’s […]

Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, ou Les Dieux d’Égypte


If you thought opera was an art form dedicated to the “park and bark” supersized, you would have your assumptions happily blasted away at Opera Lafayette’s celebratory dance mash with slithering aqua body-suited Nile creatures, an Amazon army of gorgeous jingling-footed Indian dancers, and early-form French-court ballet dancers with their graceful port de bras and […]

Three Decembers from UrbanArias

Emily Pulley and Michael Mayes (Photo: C. Stanley Photography)

What do you imagine when you think of “going to the Opera?” Vast theaters, draped entirely in tacky red velvet? Huge casts with elaborate sets in sprawling shows that go on for hours in a language you studied half-heartedly in high school? Those are typical answers, but UrbanArias, a local opera company devoted to producing […]

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.

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