Le Nozze di Figaro in Aix-en-Provence

You pay your money, you takes your chances — that is festival life at its best. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. The fun is in the risk, so the riskier the better.

The Marriage of Figaro in Montpellier

Perfection. A seldom used term in critiques of opera performances. There it was, almost (and will be, maybe).

Lucrezia Borgia in San Francisco

Bad news travels fast. Though you are about to read another version of how American diva RenÈe Fleming failed to bring Lucrezia Borgia alive, let us begin by discussing a few other things you already know.

Turandot in San Francisco

Los Angeles has been good to Turandot. The gritty 1984 Andre Serban production inaugurated an opera company in Los Angeles where a mere eight years later L.A. Opera bestowed the splendid Luciano Berio ending upon the world in an uber-pompous Gian-Carlo del Monaco production.

Heart of a Soldier, San Francisco

The house lights dimmed, SFO General Director David Gockley instructed us to stand and sing the Star Spangled Banner. This crucial moment revealed the intentions and complexities of this fine production at San Francisco Opera.

Mosè in Egitto and Adelaide di Borgogna in Pesaro

It was a no-brainer. The Old Testament Egyptians had to become today’s Palestinians.

La BohËme at Torre del Lago

This is where Puccini composed many of his operas until the lake got so polluted he had to move to nearby Viareggio.

La traviata at the Aix Festival

An appreciation of La traviata plus La clemenza di Tito and Le Nez/The Nose at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Les Noces de Figaro in Paris

This is the one by Giorgio Strehler that opened at Versailles in 1973 and since has endured twenty-three incarnations, first at the Garnier and later at the Bastille.

La Fille du RÈgiment in Montpellier

The OpÈra National de Montpellier sometimes rises to artistic heights, and even when it fails its attempts are often interesting.