Félicien David’s Lalla-Roukh at Wexford Festival Opera: a forgotten gem

On 23rd September 1876, the ‘Occasional Notes’ column in The Musical World reported that after a performance of the opera Lalla-Roukh by Félicien David (1810-76), one of the musicians made…

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…

Halévy’s La tempesta opens the 71st Wexford Festival Opera

“Be not afeard,” Caliban reassures the comic conspirators, Stephano and Trinculo, “This isle is full of noises,/ Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.”  Indeed, the whole…

Dialogues des Carmelites in San Francisco

Poulenc’s masterpiece (1957), Camus’ La Chute (The Fall) Nobel Prize for Literature (1957), Bernstein’s West Side Story (1957), Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954). San Francisco Opera…

Mid Wales Opera triumphs with Puss in Boots

Mid Wales Opera has virtually created an instruction manual for the performance of community-based opera in rural areas, shrink-wrapping works into spaces that rarely enjoy professional presentation.  Its month-long SmallStages…

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…

A dark, sombre Tamerlano from English Touring Opera

The Mongol conqueror, Tamerlane (1336-1405), doesn’t have a good reputation.  Also known as Timur, this son of a nomadic shepherd was a masterful military leader and tactician but is most…

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…

Robert Carsen’s new production of Aida at the Royal Opera House

Finding myself with an hour to kill before a performance of Robert Carsen’s new production of Aida at the Royal Opera House earlier this week, I settled down in a…