Tannhäuser at Salzburg

Tannhäuser made the young Richard Wagner’s reputation. Charles Baudelaire, Franz Liszt, Oscar Wilde, Queen Victoria and other luminaries became obsessed with Wagner’s portrayal (and subtle critique) of the struggle between…

Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

In his final years, celebrated film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli came to be closely associated with the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, which shared his traditionalist view of opera staging.…

Lohengrin at the Met

Québécois director François Girard probably seemed an obvious choice to design the Met’s new Lohengrin.  His recent opera stagings are as celebrated as his music-obsessed movies, including the classic Thirty-two…

Tannhäuser at the Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has a long tradition of superb concert and semi-staged opera, most recently under conductors like Seiji Ozawa, Colin Davis and Bernhard Haitink, as well as…

Lohengrin at Bayerische Staatsoper

Pity the modern European stage director confronted with Lohengrin. The music is famously seductive, but the plot is abhorrent. What is one to make of a saint who arrives on…

Elektra at Washington National Opera

Of standard repertoire operas, Richard Strauss’s Elektra may be the toughest to perform. It requires a gargantuan orchestra of extreme virtuosity, a conductor who can mold 100 minutes of increasing…

Operatic Shock Treatment: Salomé in Paris

A new production of Richard Strauss’s Salomé is playing at Paris’s Opera Bastille. Stage Director Lydia Steier, an American working mostly in Germany, has designed it to shock audiences. In…

Tristan und Isolde at Seattle

Seattle Opera has long championed the operas of Richard Wagner. Legendary impresarios Glynn Ross and Speight Jenkins – the latter, at 85, still cutting a dapper figure in the audience…

Idomeneo at the Met

Thursday night performances of lesser-known works often spark memorable Met moments. So it was last week, at the revival of Mozart’s Idomeneo. The house was far from full and a…

Otello at Philadelphia

Gioachino Rossini finished Otello in 1816, the same year as his comic masterpieces, Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola. The latter two are acknowledged masterpieces. Yet it is Otello…