Grading San Francisco Opera Performances for 2016

Beginning with calendar year 2006, I have given letter grades to each of San Francisco Opera’s productions during that calendar year.  Like the seminars associated with Ph.D. programs, I do not grade “on a curve”, but, instead expect that a San Francisco Opera performance of any opera, like a seminar grade for a doctoral student, … Read more

Six or so Reasons to Experience “Andrea Chénier” at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House

The San Francisco Opera’s 2016-17 season is filled with delights. For me, the highlights include the world premiere of an opera based on the supreme achievement of classical Chinese literature, The Dream of the Red Chamber and a new Francesca Zambello production of Verdi’s “Aida”. It also includes the return of Puccini’s “La Boheme” in 2017, the opera … Read more

Guest Commentary by Ryan McKinny: Why We Need Parsifal

As baritone Ryan McKinny prepares to make his Bayreuth Festival debut, opening the 2016 festival as Amfortas in Wagner’s “Parsifal”, he has agreed to allow me to post this essay:   [Below: Baritone Ryan McKinny; edited image of a Simon Pauly photograph. Durch Mitleid wissend. Through compassion, understanding. This phrase has been in my ear … Read more

Opera in Live Performance: Thoughts and Assessments at the End of 2015

Note from William: this continues my series of “end of the year” thoughts on the live performance of opera.  My “Thoughts and Assessments” series began at the end of calendar year 2009. Each year since then I’ve discussed a variety of subjects. Before I begin my schedule of 2016 performance reviews, including upcoming performances in California, Texas, Washington, France, … Read more

Grading San Francisco Opera Performances for 2015

Beginning with calendar year 2006 (the year that the current San Francisco Opera general director David Gockley assumed his post), I have given letter grades to each of San Francisco Opera’s productions during that calendar year.  Like the seminars associated with Ph.D. programs, I do not grade “on a curve”, but, instead expect that a … Read more