Tom’s Review: Wagner’s “Siegfried” Starts San Francisco Opera’s Ring Season With a Smashing Stunner – May 29, 2011

Arriving at the War Memorial Opera House before this season’s wildly extraordinary “Siegfried”, San Francisco was treated to colorful flags all over the city proclaiming this 2011 Ring Festival, continuing a long tradition in San Francisco of presenting full-scale Ring productions for decades – as in 1935, 1972, 1985, 1990, 1999. But the first full cycle … Read more

Review: Waut Koeken’s Iconoclastic Strasbourg “Seraglio” – Opera National de Rhin, May 21, 2011

On a warm Alsatian spring evening, I traveled to one of the Rhineland’s famed “candy box” opera houses, the 1374-seat Theatre Municipal, home of the Opera National du Rhin of Strasbourg, France. The Theatre Municipal’s 190 year history includes its destruction during the Siege of Strasbourg in the 1870 Prussian invasion that ended Napoleon III’s … Read more

Tom’s Review: A Sultry, Voluptuous “Carmen” Concludes San Diego Opera’s Best Season Ever – May 14, 2011

Concluding the very sensational 2011 San Diego Opera Season is the all time operatic winner in every opera house world-wide – Bizet’s marvelous crowd-pleaser (and revenue-enhancer) “Carmen”, which has graced San Diego’s stage many times, always to huge applause. As expected, the house was sold out and the audience highly enthusiastic about the sun-dappled production with its impressive cast … Read more

Review: Goerke, Claycomb, Graham in Stylishly Accessible “Ariadne auf Naxos” – Houston Grand Opera, April 29, 2011

Houston Grand Opera’s British general director, Anthony Freud,  introduced Houston audiences last year to Sir Nicholas Hytner’s imaginative production of Handel’s “Xerxes”, starring Susan Graham and Laura Claycomb (see “Xerxes” Unexcelled – Houston Grand Opera, May, 2, 2010). For the weekend of the Royal Wedding, in which American interest in the cultural affairs of London was heightened, … Read more