Review: An “Idomeneo” Surprise in San Francisco – Daniela Mack’s Princely Idamante, October 26, 2008

By tradition and for practical reasons, persons who review opera performances usually attend the first performance in a season of a given opera, although persons reviewing performances at several companies often must attend a second or later performance at one company to be able to accommodate to the schedule of another. Almost every company is … Read more

Review: Blythe Leads Impressive Role Debuts in ‘New’ “Samson et Dalila” – Pittsburgh Opera, October 18, 2008

For opening night of the Pittsburgh Opera’s 2008-09 season, Saint-Saens’ “Samson et Dalila” was performed in a “refurbished” production that saw the role debuts of tenor Frank Porretta as Samson and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Dalila. It was also the occasion for the stage debut of baritone Kim Josephson (who had sung the role in … Read more

Review: Eyecatching, Mellifluous “Pearl Fishers” at Lyric Opera, Chicago – October 16, 2008

For Lyric Opera’s 1997-98 season Nicolas Joel created a production of Bizet’s “Les Pecheurs de Perles” in which Paul Groves and Gino Quilico played the male lead roles, with sets created by Hubert Monloup. Eleven seasons later, the Joel production was revived, with extensive revisions. Scott Marr of Lyric’s Ryan Opera Center created new sets … Read more

Review: Kaufmann Astonishes, Dessay Enraptures, in McVicar “Manon” – Lyric Opera of Chicago, October 15, 2008

Lyric Opera’s 2008-09 season commenced with Massenet’s “Manon” in the fascinating David McVicar production, originally designed for English National Opera in London and subsequently shown in Barcelona, Auckland, Liege, Houston and Dallas. McVicar, who sticks to the story and time period of most operas he assays, famously delves into the sexual conduct at least implied … Read more

Review: A Seductive Dream – Maestro Runnicles and “Tote Stadt” at San Francisco Opera, October 12, 2008

Conductor Donald Runnicles again showed that the San Francisco Opera has the ability to produce challenging repertory, leading the effort to bring the 2004 co-production (from the Salzburg and Vienna opera companies) of Korngold’s “Die Tote Stadt” to the Bay Area. It proved to be unambiguosly a personal triumph for Runnicles, who leaves his post … Read more