Historical Performances: Mario del Monaco’s Overpowering Otello – San Francisco Opera’s San Diego Tour – November 5, 1959

This is the tenth of ten observances of historic performances of the San Francisco Opera that I attended during the company’s annual tours of Southern California In 1950, the American debut of 35 year old operatic tenor Mario del Monaco ¬†took place at the San Francisco Opera. His American debut role was Radames in Verdi’s … Read more

Review: Florez and DiDonato Dominate Los Angeles Opera’s “Barbiere di Siviglia”, December 6, 2009

The title of Gioacchino Rossini’s most famous work, identifying the occupation of a chief character, Figaro, derives from the subversive French play by Beaumarchais that helped accelerate the national campaign against aristocratic privilege that culminated in the French Revolution. Not quite three decades later, the Revolution, including its Napoleonic aftermath, was over. Rossini prepared a … Read more

Review: Korchak, Coburn and Meachem Illuminate Alternate “Barber of Seville” Cast – Los Angeles Opera, December 5, 2009

The Los Angeles Opera, whose general director Placido Domingo is arguably the world’s most dominant personality in grand opera, has become a favorite destination for many of the world’s great artists. Domingo’s casting choices show a keen eye for the best talents in the world, including those who have not yet achieved widespread recognition. Even … Read more