A Second Look Review: San Francisco Opera’s Magnificent “Manon Lescaut” – November 24, 2019

Even though all of the season’s performances of “Manon Lescaut” have taken place, it was an unambiguously successful run of a deserving opera. It was a confirmation of the high quality performances one can expect from the San Francisco Opera. There is melodramatic power in a Puccini leitmotiv performed fortissimo by the San Francisco Opera … Read more

Review: A “Must See” San Francisco Opera Production of “Hansel and Gretel”- November 17, 2019

San Francisco Opera has enlisted a vocally and dramatially impressive cast for German composer Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”. The expanded 65-member San Francisco Opera Orchestra resounded elegantly in the War Memorial Opera House. This a “must-see” holiday experience, sung in an enchanting English translation. Sasha Cooke’s Hansel and Heidi Stober’s Gretel Texas mezzo-soprano Sasha … Read more

Review: A Passionate “Manon Lescaut” Led by Luisotti, Haroutounian and Jagde – San Francisco Opera, November 8, 2019

In the early 18th century the Abbe Prevost published a scandalous story of a privileged young woman who is torn by the dual desires for passionate love (with the relatively poor Chevalier des Grieux) and worldly riches (with the wealthy Geronte). Puccini’s opera, based on Prevost’s famous work, is a stark morality play, in which … Read more

In Quest of Donizetti and Early Verdi (January-July, 2020)

Several times I have been invited to write articles for the programs that accompany live performances of operas. Three of these articles relate to the operas composed by Gaetano Donizetti and his younger contemporary, Giuseppe Verdi. These articles are: 21st Century Love for Donizetti’s “Elixir”, and, From the “Barber of Seville” to “Don Pasquale”, and … Read more