Tom’s Review: Richard M. Nixon and Mao Zedong Dance at Smashing “Nixon in China” – Long Beach Opera, March 20, 2010

How can any of us Fifty-Something Plus Types ever forget that incredible, epochal meeting in February 1972 when Nixon met Chairman Mao Zedong (modern [pinyin] Chinese for the formerly spelled Mao Tse Tung) in Beijing (used to be Peking), literally changing history from that episode foreward? Prolific American composer, Pulitzer-Prize winning John Adams (born 1947, California-based) … Read more

Tom’s Review: Piotr Beczala, Ellie Dehn, Priti Gandhi Stunning in San Diego “La Boheme” – February 5, 2010

Is there anyone out there in the world of opera who doesn’t adore Puccini’s super-popular “La Boheme”? Who doesn’t dab at tears at the end when Mimi dies in Rodolfo’s arms? This is opera verisma (opera in the Real World) at its absolute best! And how do you top Act II’s rollicking Cafe’ Momus Christmas Eve scene for sheer delight. [Below: A Paris … Read more

Tom’s Review: Anthony Dean Griffey Wows San Diego In a Riveting “Peter Grimes” – April 24, 2009

San Diego Opera had only presented Benjamin Britten’s ultimate masterpiece “Peter Grimes” in one previous season, 25 years ago. Its revival, again utilizing Carl Toms’ sets, returned for the 2009 Season, hugely enriched with American lyric tenor Anthony Dean Griffey. More than  “starring” as Peter Grimes, Griffey dynamically personalized this gritty role, living it and … Read more

Tom’s Review: German Birds Fly High at Los Angeles Opera in Braunfels’ Rarely Seen “The Birds”, April 23, 2009

Los Angeles’ super-genius film-maker Alfred Hitchcock released flocks of aggressive birds in his renowned and justly famed film “The Birds” upon startled and unsuspecting film-goers decades ago, but now Los Angeles Opera has released very exotic birds of its own in their new production of German composer Walter Braunfels (1882-1954) opera “The Birds (Die Voegel)” … Read more