Review: Susan Graham’s Star Glows in Offenbach’s Sexy, Witty “Grand Duchess of Gerolstein” – Santa Fe Opera, June 28, 2013

Santa Fe Opera’s 2013 opera festival opened with a rousing new production of Jacques Offenbach’s 1868 comedy “Le Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein”. The evening was significant in many ways – introducing a new performing edition, and introducing a new English translation of the spoken dialogue  (the opera itself is sung in its original French). It … Read more

A Second Look Review: the Pelly-Polenzani “Tales of Hoffmann” at San Francisco Opera, June 23, 2013

In my review of the Western Hemisphere premiere of Laurent Pelly’s new production of Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann”, I remarked favorably on both the Pelly’s concept and on the bravura performance of Matthew Polenzani as Hoffmann [see Matthew Polenzani Triumphs in Pelly’s Take on “Tales of Hoffmann” – San Francisco Opera, June 5, 2013.] As with any … Read more

Review: Warm Reception for Adamo’s “Mary Magdalene” – San Francisco Opera, June 19, 2013

The San Francisco Opera presented the world premiere of composer-librettist Mark Adamo’s “The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene” in a strongly cast, visually effective production. Adamo wades into the controversies that divided Jewish sects at the time of Yeshua (Jesus). His libretto draws upon fragments of ancient accounts, re-discovered in modern times through the work … Read more

Review: A Beautifully Sung, Engaging “Cosi fan Tutte” at San Francisco Opera – June 9, 2013

Mozart’s glorious comedy about the inconstancy of women returned to the War Memorial Opera House stage after an absence of eight years. Maestro Nicola Luisotti and Stage Director Jose Maria Condemi presided over a young but very strong cast in what proved to be an eye-pleasing, continuously entertaining, beautifully sung performance. Luisotti, after assuming the … Read more

Review: Matthew Polenzani Triumphs in Pelly’s Take on “Tales of Hoffmann” – San Francisco Opera, June 5, 2013

Illinois native Matthew Polenzani, in an extraordinary exhibition of the art of the French lyric tenor, held the War Memorial Opera House stage for over three hours. Polenzani appeared in the title role of  French stage director’s fascinating re-conceptualization of Offenbach’s posthumous grand opera, “The Tales of Hoffmann (Les Contes d’Hoffmann)”. Matthew Polenzani’s Hoffmann The operatic character … Read more