Review: Verdian Back to Basics – San Francisco Opera’s Satisfying “Simon Boccanegra”, September 21, 2008

San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley assumed the leadership of the Bay Area’s operatic powerhouse at the beginning of 2006, and has done a creditable job of changing the direction of the company that had seemed to have disconnected itself from its traditional standards of excellence and from the interests and desires of its audiences. Scrapping some … Read more

Review: Brilliant “Bonesetter’s Daughter” Dazzles at San Francisco Opera, September 20, 2008

San Francisco Opera has demonstrated that a great opera company can present the mainstream treasures of the operatic repertory respectfully, yet simultaneously expand the boundaries of the operatic medium. One year after the extraordinary world premiere of Philip Glass’ “Appomattox” in San Francisco, the company achieved an even greater success  with the world premiere of … Read more

Review: Dissecting “The Fly” – the American Premiere of Shore’s Opera, Los Angeles Opera, September 7, 2008

Hollywood Does L. A. Opera – Part IV Those who listen to the orchestral suites of Canadian Howard Shore’s soundtrack music culled from such cinema masterpieces as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy or Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator will recognize an immensely talented composer of luscious music. His invitation to compose an opera commissioned by the Los … Read more

Review: Woody Allen’s Los Angeles Opera “Gianni Schicchi” Spoofs Italian Films, September 6, 2008

Hollywood Does L. A. Opera –  Part III Los Angeles Opera, which earlier in the evening unveiled blockbuster new productions of Puccini’s “Il Tabarro” and “Suor Angelica” created by Academy Award winning film director William Friedkin, turned the final third of the evening over to Academy Award winning film director Woody Allen. Friedkin took two operas, each of whose dramatic and … Read more

Friedkin’s Miraculous, Radvanovsky’s Revelatory “Suor Angelica” – Los Angeles Opera, September 6, 2008

Hollywood Does L. A. Opera – Part II Giacomo Puccini’s favorite of the three operas of the Trittico was “Suor Angelica” and it annoyed him greatly that opera companies would drop it from an evening’s program and perform only “Tabarro” and “Gianni Schicchi” (or one of those two operas paired with something entirely different).  It … Read more