Review: Yunah Lee Leads Impressive Cast in Glimmerglass Festival “Madama Butterfly” – July 17, 2014

Francesca Zambello, who has conceptualized and directed many brilliant opera productions brought her well-considered ideas about how to stage Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” to the Glimmerglass Festival stage. I had reported on her innovative production, which originally debuted at Houston Grand Opera in 1999 on the most recent of its three mountings in San Diego [See Racette, Ventre Impress in … Read more

Review: San Francisco Opera Embraces “Susannah”: An American Operatic Masterpiece Returns to the War Memorial – September, 2014

For the first time in the history of the San Francisco Opera, Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah” is being presented as part of the Opera’s “main season”. [For the subsequent performance review, see: REVIEW: RACETTE, ACETO, JOVANOVICH IN BRILLIANT NEW PRODUCTION OF “SUSANNAH” – SAN FRANCISCO OPERA, SEPTEMBER 6, 2014.] Three of the four main characters will be … Read more

Rising Stars – An Interview with Michael Todd Simpson

The following interview took place with the deeply appreciated facilitation of the San Francisco Opera. [Below: Baritone Michael Todd Simpson; resized image, based on a publicity photograph.] Wm: You are from Gastonia, North Carolina. Are you from a family with deep North Carolina roots? MTS: Our entire family, including aunts and uncles, grew up on the same road. My great grandfather … Read more

Review: San Francisco Opera’s Pérez, Costello, Kelsey Lineup Leads to High Scoring “Traviata” – July 5, 2014

San Francisco Opera celebrated the Fourth of July weekend with a performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” that introduced the “July cast”, consisting of mostly American singers led by Chicago-born Ailyn Pérez as Violetta, Philadelphia-born Stephen Costello as Alfredo and Honolulu-born Quinn Kelsey as Giorgio Germont.  The performance took place before an audience of over 2600 at San … Read more