Review: The Runnicles, Hockney “Tristan” in San Francisco – October 22, 2006

Conductor Donald Runnicles has had an extraordinary impact over more than a decade and a half of musical performances at the San Francisco Opera, serving with three quite different personalities holding the General Director position – Lotfi Mansouri, Pamela Rosenberg, and David Gockley. The Fall, 2006 S. F. Opera season is notable for two events.  The first … Read more

Review: Gavanelli Dominates Strongly Cast San Francisco Opera “Rigoletto” – October 15, 2006

Having attended the Mariinsky Theatre’s “Kirov Ring” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center October 6 through 11, 2006 (see my reviews elsewhere on this website), I wondered what would be the impact of a United States opera company adopting the Gergiev/Mariinsky approach to casting. In the Kirov Ring, conductor and intendant Valery Gergiev cast … Read more

Review: Mariinsky “Götterdämmerung” in Orange County – ‘Hehrstes Wunder’ October 11, 2006

The final opera of the Kirov Opera/Mariinsky Theatre presentation of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” in California’s Orange County commenced in the late afternoon on the fifth day after the Friday evening “Rheingold” that began it all. Valery Gergiev, the Kirov/Mariinsky’s great wonder, again conducted. As the Three Norns came into view, tending buoys around … Read more

Review: Kirov’s “Siegfried” Slays Dragon, Conquers Orange County – October 9, 2006

Wagner thought that if one opera of his four-opera “Ring of the Nibelungs” would be performed separately from the other three in the series, it would be “Siegfried”. He, of course, was wrong about this. “Die Walkuere”, perhaps because of the its popular third act “Ride of the Valkyrs”, and certainly for its lusciously written … Read more

Review: Domingo, Kirov “Walküre” in Costa Mesa – October 7, 2006

The second opera of the Kirov Mariinsky Theatre’s production of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” brought together two mysterious forces – Gergiev and Tsypin’s furtive symbology of mankind’s collective memory about the age when gods, giants and dwarves shared the Earth and the seemingly indestructible voice of 64-year old Placido Domingo in his signature Wagnerian … Read more