Opera

Some tense music to go with the Met's contract negotiations

Some tense music to go with the Met's contract negotiations

All across the globe, worried Metropolitan Opera fans, not to mention assorted pundits and politicians, are caught up in the suspense of the company's testy contract negotiations with its many unions.  Read more ...

A bouncy 'Gondoliers' from Young Victorian Theatre Company

A bouncy 'Gondoliers' from Young Victorian Theatre Company

Gilbert and Sullivan connoisseurs hold "The Gondoliers" in high regard.  Read more ...

Young Victorian Theatre Company to present Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Gondoliers'

Young Victorian Theatre Company to present Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Gondoliers'

For the seventh time since 1971, when Young Victorian Theatre Company was launched in Baltimore to champion the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, the company will present "The Gondoliers."  Read more ...

Lyric Opera Baltimore scales back to one production and concerts for 2014-2015 season

Lyric Opera Baltimore scales back to one production and concerts for 2014-2015 season

Lyric Opera Baltimore, which scaled back from three productions to two after its 2011-2012 inaugural season, is scaling back again. Only one staged work, Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," will be presented during 2014-2015, the company's fourth season.  Read more ...

A musical memento of conductor Julius Rudel

A musical memento of conductor Julius Rudel

The news of Julius Rudel's death on Thursday at the age of 93 sent a sad wave through the music world. This first-rate conductor, impresario and gentleman left a huge mark, especially for his long stewardship of the New York City Opera.  Read more ...

An impassioned, vocally inconsistent 'Nabucco' from Lyric Opera Baltimore

An impassioned, vocally inconsistent 'Nabucco' from Lyric Opera Baltimore

Biblical stories do not typically make great operas, anymore than they make great movies. But Verdi’s first successful work for the stage, “Nabucco,” based more or less on the tale of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian bondage of the Hebrews, comes pretty close.  Read more ...

Washington National Opera stages super-colorful 'Magic Flute'

Washington National Opera stages super-colorful 'Magic Flute'

With a riot of color onstage, Washington National Opera's presentation of "The Magic Flute" could not be more visually animated if it tried. There's a good deal to entertain the ears as well.  Read more ...

New tenor star Stephen Costello to perform in concert for Lyric Opera Baltimore

New tenor star Stephen Costello to perform in concert for Lyric Opera Baltimore

UPDATE: Since I posted this story on Tuesday, word has come that the 'Toujours L'Amour' concert scheduled for Friday has been postponed because Stephen Costello has a 'bad flu.' Lyric Opera Baltimore artistic director James Harp says the event may be rescheduled for next season. Ticket-holders may exchange seats for a future performance or obtain refunds at point of purchase.  Read more ...

Peabody Opera Theatre gives effective staging of 'Midsummer Night's Dream'

Peabody Opera Theatre gives effective staging of 'Midsummer Night's Dream'

On several levels, Peabody Opera Theatre accomplished a great deal with its production of Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  Read more ...

Peabody Opera to stage a Britten masterpiece, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Peabody Opera to stage a Britten masterpiece, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

For years, Peabody Opera Theatre has made valuable contributions to the city's cultural life. That is especially true when the company turns to repertoire that gets little attention here, as in the case of this season’s focus on two mid-century masterpieces.  Read more ...

Eschenbach leads NSO in compelling 'Rosenkavlier' in concert with stellar cast

Eschenbach leads NSO in compelling 'Rosenkavlier' in concert with stellar cast

The stars aligned Saturday night in Washington, producing four hours of cosmic music-making.  Read more ...

Maryland Opera Studio to give reading of 'Scalia/Ginsburg' opera by Baltimore native

Maryland Opera Studio to give reading of 'Scalia/Ginsburg' opera by Baltimore native

 You've read about their clashing views in all of those 5-4 Supreme Court decisions. Now hear them sing their arguments.  Read more ...

Novel works from Generous Company, Rhymes With Opera

Novel works from Generous Company, Rhymes With Opera

Getting out of the local cultural mainstream, I recently took in the premiere of "Where the Whangdoodle Sings" by Generous Company at Theatre Project and the first staged presentation of "Red Giant" by Rhymes With Opera at the Windup Space.  Read more ...

A sample of the real Dame Nellie Melba for fans of 'Downton Abbey'

A sample of the real Dame Nellie Melba for fans of 'Downton Abbey'

Sunday night's installment of this season's "Downton Abbey" will be most talked about because of what happened below stairs while everyone else was attending a recital by the legendary Dame Nellie Melba.  Read more ...

New family opera for Christmas from Washington National Opera

New family opera for Christmas from Washington National Opera

Folks convinced there's a "war on Christmas" should hurry to the Kennedy Center and catch a new opera that is as Christmas as all get out. We're talking Mary, Joseph and a no vacancy sign at the inn. We're talking a watchful angel and a bright star.   Read more ...

Remembering actress Eleanor Parker, who portrayed opera great Marjorie Lawrence

Remembering actress Eleanor Parker, who portrayed opera great Marjorie Lawrence

Another bright star of old Hollywood is gone. Eleanor Parker, who received three Academy Award nominations, including for her inspired portrayal of soprano Marjorie Lawrence in the 1955 film "Interrupted Melody," died Monday in Palm Springs. She was 91.   Read more ...

Commemorating Maria Callas with some of her greatest notes

Commemorating Maria Callas with some of her greatest notes

Biographical sources differ on when Maria Callas was born -- one book covers all bases by listing her birth date as "Dec. 2, 3 or 4, 1923" -- but every reputable source agrees that this soprano, who would have turned 90 this week, ranks among the best of the best. (Google is going with Dec. 2, which explains its nice graphic today.)  Read more ...

Three new 20-minute operas on American themes

Three new 20-minute operas on American themes

The other day (OK, it was last week -- your humble correspondent has been way behind on everything lately), Washington National Opera presented the premieres of three 20-minute pieces that as part of its  second annual American Opera Initiative. I found the experience rewarding on many levels.  Read more ...

Peabody Opera's staging of 'Dialogues of the Carmelites' mostly effective

Peabody Opera's staging of 'Dialogues of the Carmelites' mostly effective

It has been nearly 30 years since Francis Poulenc’s haunting opera “Dialogues of the Carmelites” was staged in Baltimore. No telling when or if it might return, so the opportunity offered this weekend by Peabody Opera Theatre should not be passed up.  Read more ...

Peabody Opera to present Poulenc's 'Dialogues of the Carmelites'

Peabody Opera to present Poulenc's 'Dialogues of the Carmelites'

For many years, critics didn't take French composer Francis Poulenc or his music very seriously, even after his first opera was premiered in 1947.  Read more ...

Gottfried Wagner on the Holocaust opera 'Lost Childhood'

Gottfried Wagner on the Holocaust opera 'Lost Childhood'

Gottfried Wagner, author, director, musicologist and great-grandson of Richard Wagner, had a significant role in the development of "Lost Childhood," an opera about the Holocaust and its aftermath.  Read more ...

New opera links Jewish, German legacies of Holocaust

New opera links Jewish, German legacies of Holocaust

On the night of Nov. 9, 1938, a well-orchestrated anti-Jewish pogrom erupted throughout Germany and Austria. Synagogues, businesses and homes were attacked, lives were lost. The vicious destruction continued into a second night.  Read more ...

Lyric Opera Baltimore opens season with traditional, mostly effective 'Tosca'

Lyric Opera Baltimore opens season with traditional, mostly effective 'Tosca'

It’s deja vu all over the place in the Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric.  Read more ...

Lyric Opera Baltimore to open third season with a familiar 'Tosca'

Lyric Opera Baltimore to open third season with a familiar 'Tosca'

Five years ago this month, the Baltimore Opera Company presented its last production. Back then, few people inside or out of the company realized that the vivid singing in Bellini's "Norma" would be a farewell to what had been a mainstay of the city's cultural life for more than six decades.  Read more ...

Illness forces cast change for Lyric Opera Baltimore's 'Tosca'

Illness forces cast change for Lyric Opera Baltimore's 'Tosca'

Lyric Opera Baltimore found itself in need of a new villain less than two weeks before the company's season-opening production of "Tosca."  Read more ...

Washington National Opera offers new take on Verdi's 'Forza'

Washington National Opera offers new take on Verdi's 'Forza'

If it is your destiny to be anywhere near the Kennedy Center during the next couple of weeks, check out Washington National Opera's new production of Verdi's "La forza del destino." The force of it may surprise you -- and quite possibly thrill, confound, amuse or annoy you, too. You will certainly not be unaffected.  Read more ...

A gripping performance of 'Forza' Overture to salute Verdi's 200th birthday

A gripping performance of 'Forza' Overture to salute Verdi's 200th birthday

The world has been awash in more Verdian sounds than usual this year, thanks to the preeminent Italian opera composer's bicentennial. Since Oct. 10 marks Verdi's actual 200th birthday (OK, it might have been the day before, but most sources go with the 10th), I figured I had to take extra note of the occasion.  Read more ...

Baltimore Concert Opera opens fifth season with spirited 'L'elisir'

Baltimore Concert Opera opens fifth season with spirited 'L'elisir'

A lot has happened, operatically, in Baltimore during the past few years.  Read more ...

An opener for Community Concerts, a preview for Lyric Opera

An opener for Community Concerts, a preview for Lyric Opera

Community Concerts at Second, which offers a remarkable range of free and substantial programs each year, drew a big house for the opening of its 27th season Sunday afternoon showcasing the Aspen String Trio, plus one.  Read more ...

Centennial of Ferruccio Tagliavini a reminder of what we're missing

Centennial of Ferruccio Tagliavini a reminder of what we're missing

Last week saw another important date in this exceptionally anniversary-filled year -- the centennial of Italian tenor Ferruccio Tagliavini (Aug. 14, 1913 - Jan. 29. 1995) -- and I just had to take note, however belatedly.  Read more ...

Wolf Trap Opera closes season with Verdi's brilliant 'Falstaff'

Wolf Trap Opera closes season with Verdi's brilliant 'Falstaff'

"Falstaff," the last of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas, is a marvel. From the first notes, the musical inventiveness never stops. And, thanks in large measure to the libretto Arrigo Boito fashioned from Shakespeare, the opera is a continual theatrical delight, with many a delicious character and comic situations that still deliver.  Read more ...

Saluting Licia Albanese on her 100th birthday

Saluting Licia Albanese on her 100th birthday

Most centennial celebrations take place without the honoree. But Italian-born soprano Licia Albanese is still with us, so it's even sweeter to take note of her birthday as she reaches the age of 100 today, July 22.  Read more ...

Castleton Festival delivers strong lineup of opera, theater

Castleton Festival delivers strong lineup of opera, theater

I told you this would be a good summer to check out the Castleton Festival. There has been plenty of worthwhile activity each year at this venture, held deep in verdant Virginia countryside on the estate of celebrated conductor Lorin Maazel, but this fifth anniversary season stands out.  Read more ...

Young Victorian Theatre Company breaks in new venue with 'Pinafore'

Young Victorian Theatre Company breaks in new venue with 'Pinafore'

For the last 23 of its 43 years, the Young Victorian Theatre Company made its home each summer on the campus of Bryn Mawr in what was, at best, an adequate performance facility. It had a cramped, low-ceilinged stage, dry acoustics and no orchestra pit.  Read more ...

Another health update on Marin Alsop, Placido Domingo

Another health update on Marin Alsop, Placido Domingo

Another update from the casualty list.  Read more ...

Castleton Festival packs big attractions into fifth season

Castleton Festival packs big attractions into fifth season

If you haven't yet taken the drive into sweet Virginia countryside to sample the Castleton Festival, this sure looks like a good year to make the trip.  Read more ...

A musical reflection for a father-less Father's Day

A musical reflection for a father-less Father's Day

The death of my father in February makes for a bittersweet Father's Day this year. It's strange when you no longer have to find a card and try to come up with a gift idea.  Read more ...

'Approaching Ali' enters operatic ring, shows promise

'Approaching Ali' enters operatic ring, shows promise

New operas don't often score knock-outs. But, if crowd response were the determining factor, "Approaching Ali" sure sounded like a champion Saturday night at the Kennedy Center, where Washington National Opera presented the premiere of this hour-long piece.  Read more ...

A sublime way to take note of Wagner's birthday

A sublime way to take note of Wagner's birthday

OK, I couldn't just offer the mirth of Midweek Madness to mark the Wagner bicentennial today. (I think it quite decent of the old chap to have his 200th birthday fall on a Wednesday, so I could slip him into my weekly, widely and wildly clamored for featurette.)  Read more ...

Figaro Project gives admirable premiere of 'Camelot Requiem'

Figaro Project gives admirable premiere of 'Camelot Requiem'

Since "Nixon in China," the 1987 masterwork by John Adams that launched what some wag described as a new genre labeled "CNN Opera," contemporary events have been fairer game than ever for composers and librettists.  Read more ...

Verdi, Puccini, Poulenc for 2013-2014 season at the Lyric

Verdi, Puccini, Poulenc for 2013-2014 season at the Lyric

The 2013-2014 opera season at the Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric will have a lot in common with the 2012-2013 season -- staged works by Verdi and Puccini produced by Lyric Opera Baltimore, with a concert in between.  Read more ...

Washington National Opera presents revelatory 'Show Boat'

Washington National Opera presents revelatory 'Show Boat'

Time was when American opera companies considered musicals as suspect artifacts from another planet, hardly worthy of serious attention -- not even on a par with the operettas those companies would occasionally stage when they needed a box office lift.  Read more ...

Lyric Opera Baltimore presents lively concert of bel canto

Lyric Opera Baltimore presents lively concert of bel canto

The best sign of Lyric Opera Baltimore's growth would be an expansion of the company's fully staged productions, which are down to two after an inaugural season of three. But the idea of putting a concert into the lineup as filler for the second season certainly has merit and, judging by the decent-sized, enthusiastic turnout Saturday night at the Lyric Opera House, marketability.  Read more ...

80th birthday salute to the fabulous Montserrat Caballe

Last Friday was the 80th birthday of one of my vocal idols, Montserrat Caballe. I offer these belated good wishes with a sampling of the Spanish soprano's radiant tone and sublime musicality in a Strauss song. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.  Feliz cumpleanos, Madame Caballe.  Read more ...

Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky to give recital for Washington Performing Arts Society

Baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky to give recital for Washington Performing Arts Society

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the Russian baritone who will give a recital for the Washington Performing Arts Society at the Kennedy Center Wednesday night, has one of the finest voices of our time. He doesn’t mind saying so himself.  Read more ...

Washington National Opera's 'Manon Lescaut,' 'Norma' hit mark with Racette, Meade

Washington National Opera's 'Manon Lescaut,' 'Norma' hit mark with Racette, Meade

It's easy to find opera lovers who dismiss the present state of the art in favor of some distant "golden age." Actually, it has always been that way.  Read more ...

Kennedy Center's 2013-14 season showcases hip-hop, international theater

Kennedy Center's 2013-14 season showcases hip-hop, international theater

The Kennedy Center plans to shake up the Foggy Bottom hood next season. As part of its 2013-2014 lineup, the center will showcase a global pop music phenomenon. Really? Shizzle, man.  Read more ...

Opera Philadelphia offers East Coast premiere of Kevin Puts' 'Silent Night'

Opera Philadelphia offers East Coast premiere of Kevin Puts' 'Silent Night'

The last pope to take the name Benedict, before the one who made history this month announcing plans to retire, assumed his duties a few weeks after the outbreak of World War I. As Christmas 1914 approached, Benedict XV, who described the war as “the suicide of Europe,” pleaded for a Christmas truce. The military leaders refused, but somehow, at several points along the trenches, a surreal cease-fire broke out anyway. That short, peaceful spell inspired the 2005 film “Joyeux Noel,” which focused on the experiences of some Scottish, French and German troops on a battlefield in Belgium. That film, in turn, inspired “Silent Night,” an opera by Kevin Puts, the Peabody Institute faculty member who received the Pulitzer Prize in music last year for this extraordinary work. Opera Philadelphia is presenting the East Coast premiere of “Silent Night” at the Academy of Music in an impressive co-production with Minnesota Opera, which commissioned and unveiled the piece in November 2011. (The final performance is Sunday.) Music history is not ...   Read more ...