Review: Kathryn Lewek Leads Strong Cast for “Abduction from the Seraglio” – Lyric Opera of Kansas City, September 27, 2019

“The Abduction from the Seraglio”, one of Mozart’s seven major operas, is the most problematic to stage. Composed for the “Enlightened Monarch” Austria’s Emperor Joseph II, the tale of European women kidnapped and sold into slavery to a Turkish pasha contains minefields for directors wishing not to offend 21st century sensibilities. Alison Moritz’ Production Director … Read more

Review: Opera Philadelphia’s Richly Melodic, Laugh-filled “Love for Three Oranges” – September 20, 2019

Exactly a century after Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev finished his score for the fantasy opera “Love for Three Oranges”, Opera Philadelphia presented it in Alessandro Talevi’s production, first seen in Florence Italy’s Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Opera Philadelphia presented the opera in English, assembling an English-speaking cast, all but one of whom are American. Jonathan Johnson’s … Read more

Review: Handel’s “Semele” Excels with Amanda Forsythe, Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader, Opera Philadelphia, September 19, 2019

Opera Philadelphia, mounting Handel’s opera “Semele”, assembled a superb cast of principals led by Amanda Forsythe, Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader. The principal singers were supported by a large chorus, a team of dancers and an orchestra able to do justice to Handel’s hauntingly beautiful baroque harmonies. Handel wrote technically difficult, richly melodic vocal lines … Read more

Review: A Beautifully Sung “La Boheme” with Saimir Pirgu and Marina Costa-Jackson – Los Angeles Opera, September 14, 2019

The Los Angeles Opera’s 2019-20 season opened with Barrie Kosky’s production of Puccini’s “La Boheme”, imported from Berlin’s Komische Oper. Saimir Pirgu’s Rodolfo and Marina Costa-Jackson’s Mimi The opening night performance was the occasion of the return of Albanian lyric tenor Saimir Pirgu to the Los Angeles Opera, the site of his 2008 American operatic … Read more

Review: An Indomitable “Billy Budd”, San Francisco Opera, September 7, 2019

Britten’s “Billy Budd” returned to the San Francisco Opera repertory after a 15 year absence., utilizing Michael Grandage’s spectacular production. The production represents the three-levels of the 18th century warship HMS Indomitable. Strong performances in the opera’s three principal roles and a taut musical performance by the cast, San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus under … Read more