Faust Damned and Marguerite Saved: Changing Faust’s Fate in Paris

Note from William: In celebration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the San Diego Opera, I will be re-printing program notes that the opera company commissioned me to write. The second of these, re-printed with the kind permission of the copyright holder, the San Diego Opera, contains the program notes for their April and May 2011 … Read more

Sweet Melody: Gounod’s “Faust”, “Roméo and Juliet” and the Théâtre Lyrique

Note from William: In celebration of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the San Diego Opera, I will be re-printing program notes that the opera company commissioned me to write. The first of these, re-printed with the kind permission of the copyright holder, the San Diego Opera, will be the program notes for their March 2010 performances … Read more

Young Leontyne’s 1957 S. F. Opera Debut Season: A Supernova is Born

The San Francisco Opera season of 50 years ago was especially memorable. The long-awaited debut of Maria Callas was aborted when she did not show up for her dress rehearsals of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” and was fired by San Francisco Opera General Director Kurt Herbert Adler. Her scheduled performances in two roles were taken … Read more

Reflecting on Puccini’s “Rondine”

Before too much longer, I will be posting a review of a very successful San Francisco Opera production of Puccini’s “La Rondine” with Angela Gheorghiu starring as Magda.  In preparing the review, it seemed like a supplementary commentary page on the opera, independent of the particular performance being considered, was warranted. The case against, and … Read more