Asmik Grigorian in Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera

Madama Butterfly is firmly ensconced among the top-ten “most performed” operas worldwide and the Met’s current production is nearly two decades old. Yet, over the past few weeks, the Met…

Celebrating the Schoenberg Sesquicentennial at Carnegie Hall

Over the past generation, the polymathic conductor Leon Botstein has done much to promote large and obscure late-Romantic works. A recent sold-out performance of Arnold Schonberg’s Gurre-Lieder at Carnegie Hall…

Jonas Kaufmann in Aida at the Bayerische Staatsoper

Aida, an opera that requires at least five fine Verdi voices, has fallen on hard times. Still, the cast announced for last Saturday’s performance at the Bayerische Staatsoper, headed by…

Verdi, La traviata in Venice

The opening reception of the Biennale had ended early, Teatro La Fenice was dark, and I found myself with an unexpectedly free evening in Venice. Musica a Palazzo is one…

A Shot of Coffee in New York

Johann Sebastian Bach composed some of the most sublime religious music in the Western canon, yet in everyday life he was an earthy fellow. With his long-time collaborator Christian Henrici,…

Chornobyldorf: An Archaeological Opera in Seven Novels

For two weeks in January each year, the Prototype Festival brings small-scale and experimental musical theater to New York.  The focus is on new works that draw not so much…

Médée at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s lyric tragedy Médée premiered in 1694 with its dedicatee, Louis XIV, in attendance. The five-act libretto adapted by Thomas Corneille from Euripides’ play retells one of the most…

L’amore dei tre re at La Scala, Milan

Following its 1913 world premiere at the Teatro alla Scala, Italo Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re (The Love of Three Kings) immediately entered the standard repertory both in Italy and…

Salome at the Staatsoper Hamburg

The recent production of Richard Strauss’s Salome at the Staatsoper Hamburg, one of Germany’s major companies, has received rapturous reviews. Its main virtue is the assumption of the title role…

Die Frau ohne Schatten at Neuköllner Oper

One often hears that Berlin has three opera houses.  In fact, it has many more. Among the most engaging is the Neuköllner Oper.  Situated in a funky Berlin neighborhood, it…