Review: Engaging “Elixir of Love” at Houston Grand Opera, October 29, 2016

The Houston Grand Opera, as its 2016-17 season opener, imported director’s Daniel Slater’s production of Donizetti’s romantic comedy “The Elixir of Love (L’Elisir d’Amore)”. The production, whose sets were created by designer Robert Innes Hopkins for Britain’s Opera North, places the opera in the 1950s in a resort (the Hotel Adina) on Italy’s Amalfi Coast resort. … Read more

Review: World Class Singing in Classic “Faust” – Fabiano, Martinez, Pisaroni, Hopkins at Houston Grand Opera, October 28, 2016

The Francesca Zambello production of Gounod’s “Faust” was created for the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) in 1985. Thirty years later, it has been revived with a stellar cast, whose performance was as theatrically arresting as it was vocally resplendent. [Below: the Earl Staley sets and costumes for the scene of parish church kermesse; edited image, based on a Lynn … Read more

In Quest of Donizetti and Bellini – November 2016 to August 2017

The popularity of the operas of Gaetano Donizetti and Vincenzo Bellini, both of whom tragically died young, continue to increase, and the dramatic possibilities of their operas from the early 19th century continue to be explored. I will be reporting on productions at the Washington National Opera, The Dallas Opera, the Santa Fe Opera and the … Read more

Verdi and Verismo: An Interview with Baritone George Gagnidze

The following interview took place at the War Memorial Opera House, in conjunction with a rehearsal of Francesca Zambello’s new production of Verdi’s “Aida”, with the much-appreciated facilitation of the San Francisco Opera.   [Below: Georgian baritone George Gagnidze; edited image of a Maik Reishaus photograph, courtesy of George Gagnidze.] Wm: What are your earliest … Read more

Review: Nadja Michael’s Arresting Performance in “Makropulos Case” – San Francisco Opera, October 14, 2016

For her long-awaited return to the War Memorial Opera House, German soprano Nadja Michael takes on the role of Emilia Marty, the mysterious lead character in Janacek’s “The Makropulos Case”. Effectively performed, the role of Emilia Marty can be a supreme achievement for a prima donna with a dramatic soprano voice and consummate acting skills. Michael’s performance was astonishing, projecting the emotions … Read more