Historical Performances: Dorothy Kirsten Rides High in “Girl of the Golden West” – San Francisco Opera, October 1, 1960

Note from William: This post continues my series of observances of historic performances that I attended at San Francisco Opera during the general directorship of Kurt Herbert Adler. This is the third of five such observances of performances from the company’s 1960 Fall season. 2010 is a year of two centennial celebrations, the 100th anniversary … Read more

Tom’s Review: Richard M. Nixon and Mao Zedong Dance at Smashing “Nixon in China” – Long Beach Opera, March 20, 2010

How can any of us Fifty-Something Plus Types ever forget that incredible, epochal meeting in February 1972 when Nixon met Chairman Mao Zedong (modern [pinyin] Chinese for the formerly spelled Mao Tse Tung) in Beijing (used to be Peking), literally changing history from that episode foreward? Prolific American composer, Pulitzer-Prize winning John Adams (born 1947, California-based) … Read more

Review: Festival Casting for Lyric Opera’s “Nozze di Figaro” – Chicago, March 9, 2010

Chicago’s Lyric Opera presented a strongly cast production of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” with American bass baritone Kyle Ketelsen as Figaro, Polish baritone Marius Kwiecien as Count Almaviva, Australian-American Danielle De Niese as Susanna and American mezzo Joyce DiDonato as Cherubino. Each of the comprimario roles was in good hands, led by the formidable … Read more

Review: Costello, Pérez in Passionately Romantic “Romeo et Juliette” – San Diego Opera, March 13, 2010

San Diego Opera mounted Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette” for the attractive, youthful-looking husband and wife team of leggiero tenor Stephen Costello and coloratura soprano Ailyn Pérez. Both were debuting at San Diego Opera. Conductor Karen Keltner emphasized the score’s abundant lyricism. Several cuts in the opera were made. The formulaic French ballets, imposed on all … Read more

Review: Berlioz’ Faust Fantastique – Lyric Opera Does “Damnation” – Chicago, March 8, 2010

Hector Berlioz’ musical composition, “La Damnation de Faust”, never ceases to be both bewildering and beguiling. Much about it seems to belong in the opera house, but its mixture of  irresistible music and episodic subject matter has made its introduction to the operatic standard repertory as elusive as its message. Lyric Opera, which had never … Read more