In most productions, Madame Butterfly is unabashedly atmospheric in its romanticism. “Orientalism” carries us back to composer Giacomo Puccini’s time when the West imagined a fanciful Japan with geishas in pastel colors, a watery moon over stirring waters, a pinkish snow of cherry blossoms, and the like. Those of us who love this opera succumb willingly […]
UrbanArias has gone wild! The company that pushes boundaries, reconceiving opera that is short, smart and fast, has given us an opera about a chimpanzee. Luckily, the chimpanzee, which we learn could perform just about everything else (and she does smile and laugh,) does not sing.
Mozart would have been grinning at this youthful production of his tried-and-true opera that reached out to a new younger and diverse audience Friday night, March 17th. Washington National Opera’s Don Giovanni was Mozart as he wanted to be known: someone who delivered stories-in-song with popular appeal.
Gaetano Donizetti miraculously wrote seventy-five operas during his brief lifetime. But what makes Don Pasquale stand out as one of the funniest comic operas (opera buffa) ever written is that it is filled with exquisitely beautiful bel canto arias, patter songs, and melodramatic humor. Its unforgettable characters are a mix of good and evil. Yet, […]
The air was electric at Kennedy Center Saturday night with the promise of a great fight mounted as opera on stage, and I had what amounted to ringside seats. Champion clearly had some heavy hitters, headed up with a score by the great jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard and a libretto by award winning […]
On the 24th of March, 1962, welterweight champion Benny Paret called former champ Emile Griffith a maricón at their weigh-in. The closest contemporary American-English equivalent to this word is faggot, but maricón means more, and worse. Griffith understood what it meant. He climbed into the ring with Paret that night, fought him, and killed him.
The opera Dead Man Walking is a journey of harrowing truth and compelling beauty. If, as Sister Helen Prejean says, “ Grace is waking up to the gospel of encounter,” then Director Francesca Zambello and her company of stunning singer-actors has graced us with a revelatory theatrical encounter – that is to say an American […]
How will Director Francesca Zambello accompany her singer’s journey on the dark and lonely path of playing the nun who befriended a convicted killer and witnessed his execution? This is what I wondered while watching Kate Lindsey prepare her Washington National Opera debut in the lead role of Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking.
I am being given an intimate look inside the rehearsal rooms of Washington National Opera’s Dead Man Walking under the direction of WNO’s Artistic Director Francesca Zambello. This report marks the end of Week 2 of rehearsals. Starting Monday, we are barely two weeks away from its opening night, February 25th.
A rare inside look at the making of an opera. Washington National Opera’s Artistic Director Francesca Zambello invited Susan Galbraith to sit in on rehearsals of Dead Man Walking. This is her first report.