Review: House of Puccini: Jun Kaneko’s Enchanting “Madama Butterfly” Soars at War Memorial – San Francisco Opera, June 15, 2014

There are many elements that go into a successful operatic performance. An array of brilliant elements were present in the imaginative 2006 production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”, not seen previously in San Francisco, in which cast, conductor, orchestra and chorus, production design and staging all contributed to bringing Puccini’s heartrending tale of delusion and culture clash to … Read more

Review: Luisotti Leads Triumphant “Traviata” Starring Cabell and Pirgu – San Francisco Opera, June 11, 2014

The John Copley production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” with elegant sets by John Conklin returned to the War Memorial Opera House, after an absence of a decade. [Below: the John Conklin sets for Act I, set in Violetta’s Parisian apartments; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.] The … Read more

A Conversation with Director-Designer John Pascoe, Part 1

The following conversation began at the Park Hyatt in Milan, Italy. Wm: John, I’m grateful to begin what I hope will be a series of conversations with you.  [Below: John Pascoe; edited image of a photograph from] Although I have been able to conduct interviews and conversations with many opera personalities, it’s most difficult to … Read more

Rising Stars: An Interview with Giuseppe Filianoti

The following interview was conducted in the administrative offices of the San Diego Opera, whose facilitation of this interview is deeply appreciated.   [Below: Lyric tenor Giuseppe Filianoti; edited image, based on an Arielle Doneson portrait photograph, courtesy of] Wm: What were your earliest memories of music?  GF: I believe I was born with … Read more

Review: Aboard San Francisco Opera’s “Show Boat”: Showy Cast, Abundant Show-stoppers – June 1, 2014

San Francisco became the fourth city – after Chicago, Houston and Washington D.C. – visited by the Francesca Zambello production of Jerome Kern’s 1927 blockbuster musical “Show Boat”. I had previously reported on its opening run at the in Chicago [see Team Zambello Shows off “Show Boat” to Chicago’s Lyric Opera – March 14, 2012]. Even … Read more