Reflecting on Puccini’s “Rondine”

My review of San Francisco Opera’s 2007 production of Puccini’s “La Rondine” is posted  at Review: The Remaking of San Francisco Opera Part II – Gheorghiu and “Rondine”, November 25, 2007.  In preparing that review, it seemed like a supplementary commentary page on the opera, independent of the particular performance being considered, was warranted. The case … Read more

“Bel Canto” in the Adler Years at San Francisco Opera, Part I (1954-1957)

During the first 30 years of history of the San Francisco Opera, Italian-born Gaetano Merola was at the opera’s helm. Although artists representing many nationalities performed during the Merola years, the list of great Italian artists who appeared at San Francisco Opera for multiple seasons – Giovanni Martinelli, Tito Schipa, Giuseppe De Luca, Claudia Muzio, … Read more

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

Review: Zandra Rhodes’ New Look for Bizet’s “Pearl Fishers” – San Diego Opera, February 27, 2004

The San Diego Opera, whose director Ian Campbell had enlisted British-born California fashion designer Zandra Rhodes to design costumes for a production of Mozart’s “Magic Flute”, commissioned Rhodes to create both the sets and costumes for a new production of Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers [Les pêcheurs de perles]”. [Below: Designer Zandra Rhodes; edited image, based … Read more