Review: 21st Century Verdi – Radvanovsky Leads World Class “Ballo” Cast – Lyric Opera Chicago, November 15, 2010

In the past two months, I have reported on world class performances of Verdi’s “Aida” at the San Francisco Opera (see Brilliant Cast, Colorful Production, Luisotti’s Masterful Conducting Enliven San Francisco “Aida” – September 19, 2010) and Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London (see 21st Century Verdi: Hvorostovsky, Ciofi, Kim, Aceto in McVicar’s … Read more

Review: Anthony Dean Griffey’s Imposing Peter Grimes – Houston Grand Opera, November 12, 2010

“Peter Grimes” is Australian designer Neil Armfield’s fourth production in Houston Grand Opera’s multi-year cycle of Benjamin Britten’s operas. I had reported previously on second and third of the series (see Incandescent Houston “Midsummer Night’s Dream” – January 25, 2009 and Houston’s Haunting, Inscrutable “Turn of the Screw” – January 29, 2010). “Billy Budd” had been presented … Read more

Review: Harold Prince’s Vintage “Butterfly” at San Francisco Opera, November 5, 2010

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” is the 20th century’s most popular opera. San Francisco Opera, for the third time in in the past five calendar years has mounted it. Although the opera company itself owns a fine production, this season it chose to import the famous 1988 production of Chicago’s Lyric Opera, which was conceived by the … Read more

Review: Domingo’s Swashbuckling, Cinematic San Francisco “Cyrano” – November 6, 2010

Placido Domingo first performed at San Francisco Opera in 1969 (a single performance as Rodolfo in “La Boheme”) at age 28. Forty-one years later, at age 69, he returned to the War Memorial Opera House after an absence of 16 seasons, for appearances rich with symbolism and strategic purpose. There is much that is remarkable about … Read more