Thoughts and Assessments at the End of 2016

Over 11 years ago, I began the series of reviews, interviews and essays that constitute the content of the website. Later in 2017, I expect to post my 500th opera live performance review. At the end of each of the past eight years, I’ve posted essays that I call “thoughts and assessments”, in which I discuss issues … 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