Expanding 1955’s Standard Repertory

Fifty years ago, the Standard Opera Repertory was narrower than it is today. In the United States, impresarios such as Sir Rudolph Bing at the Metropolitan Opera and the newly empowered Kurt Herbert Adler at the San Francisco Opera set out to increase the number of operas that could be considered standard fare. And they … Read more

Historical Performances: Peerce, Albanese, Siepi and MacNeil in “Faust”, San Francisco Opera Fall Tour, San Diego, November 3, 1955

This is the first of ten observances of historic performances of the San Francisco Opera that I attended during the company’s annual tours of Southern California On November 3, 1955, the San Francisco Opera performed Gounod’s “Faust” at the Fox Theater in San Diego. [Below: New York tenor Jan Peerce in 1953; edited image, based on … Read more

Review: Opéra National de Paris: Très Magnifique “La Boheme” at the Bastille, October 21, 2005

We were in Paris for eight days, during every day of which the Opéra Bastille performed “La Boheme” with alternating casts. Although all the performances were sold out, the concierge at our hotel (the Park Hyatt – Paris Vendôme) was able to secure us very nice orchestra seats for the cast headed by the Rodolfo … Read more

Review: Two “Forza del Destinos”, Part 1 – Oper Zurich, October 19, 2005

My wife and I attended new productions of “Forza del Destino” in Zurich, Switzerland on October 19 and San Francisco, California on November 20, 2005. The production’s destiny The new production was staged by French director Nicolas Joel, familiar to San Francisco Opera audiences as first a collaborator with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, then as a stage … Read more

Review: San Francisco Opera Mounts Santa Fe Opera’s “L’Italiana in Algeri”, September 30, 2005

In September, the San Francisco Opera mounted director Edward Hastings and set designer Robert Innes Hopkins’ realization of Rossini’s “L’Italiana in Algeri” in a production borrowed from the Santa Fe Opera. The Hastings/Hopkins’ production of Janacek’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” was seen in San Francisco in 2004. “L’Italiana” was, of course, Rossini’s first big hit, … Read more