Le Prophète and Picture a Day Like This at the Aix Festival

Giacomo Meyerbeer was born near Berlin as Jacob Beer. Early in his professional life he joined his maternal grandfather’s given name, Meyer, to his father’s family name, taking on the…

Ballets Russes at the Aix Festival

Not to be confused with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes or Wassily de Basil’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, it was Igor Stravinsky’s trilogy of ballet scores created for Paris based,…

L’Opéra de Quat’Sous at the Aix Festival

That’s The Three Penny Opera. While four “sous” wouldn’t get you in the door, the price of admission was far less than the usual offering at this lofty altar to…

El ultimo sueño de Frida y Diego in San Francisco

History according to opera is a wondrous thing. Just now in San Francisco Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera have gone off into the sunset (eternity) together, happily reconciled. All this…

Die Frau ohne Schatten in San Francisco

The fifth opera of the lengthy Richard Strauss canon, The Woman Without a Shadow (1915) is surely the richest work of them all, traversing real and imaginary worlds while proving…

Saariaho’s Adriana Mater in San Francisco

June in San Francisco may become one of the world’s great opera festivals. In recent years the San Francisco Symphony has added a staged opera in its concert hall to…

Madama Butterfly in San Francisco

Japanese stage director Amon Miyamoto’s Madama Butterfly was first seen in Tokyo, then traveled to Dresden before arriving just now in San Francisco. Unlike Puccini who made the tiny Japanese…

Otello in Los Angeles

The revival of an architecturally kitsch, early twenty-first century production from Parma, Italy could not dim the luster of this finely wrought Otello.  The Italian tragedy shone with exceptional, unusual…

Tosca in San Jose (CA)

There was Tosca at Berlin’s Volksbühne sung by actors (not singers), there was Tosca at the Aix Festival documenting the demise of an aged diva. But mostly Tosca is the…

Hamlet at the Opéra Bastille

Versions of Shakespeare’s famed Hamlet have amused Parisian audiences for  250 years or so, though just now at the Opéra Bastille we were as amused as we were confused. Polish stage…