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Friday, October 30, 2015

Angela Tosca

Angela Gheorghiu as Tosca, photo @Ken Howard
Angela Gheorghiu's Tosca shouldn't have worked for a million reasons. Her soft-grained lyric voice is now even more under-powered, and she admitted in an interview that she didn't like Luc Bondy's production. But her return to the Met for just two performances of Tosca last night was a triumph. Yes her voice occasionally didn't have the reserves of power to ride over the orchestra, yes her acting was sometimes a touch mannered, but Gheorghiu is like many great singers in that she draws attention to what she can still do, rather than things beyond her ability.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Elektrifying Elektra

Photo by Chris Lee
Last night's Elektra (courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall) was one of those nights where the audience was screaming and stomping, like a gladiator arena. It was by far the most exciting, visceral opera performance of recent memory.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

NYCB Fall Season

Huxley and von Enck Photo by Paul Kolnik
For many reasons I was only able to attend two performances of NYCB's Fall Season. An earlier mixed bill found Megan Fairchild back in that short but challenging powerhouse Tarantella. Welcome back Megan. Her brother Robbie Fairchild was taking a night off from An American in Paris to dance the Hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. He was charming, if a little too slick by half. Teresa Reichlen as the Stripper had the Legs and the Hair but not the Sass. Come back soon, Robbie. NYCB misses you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Otello - when NP stands for "Non Production"

Photo by Ken Howard

The 2015-16 season of the Metropolitan Opera opened with Bartlett Sher's "new production" of Otello that would have been more appropriately labeled as a "Non Production." The set by Es Devlin was a bunch of plexiglass panels that slid back and forth mostly for the purposes of ushering the chorus on and offstage. The stage was bare except for an Ikea-upholstered bed at the end of Act 2 and Act 4. The blocking and person-regie was barely existent. A singer could have read the libretto for five minutes and come up with the same movements. Onstage, offstage, cower in fear, ball fists to look mad, collapse in a heap on the floor to look dead.