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Opera

Clara

May 5, 2015

On the evening of this performance under review, the audience was treated to a rare surprise: Victoria Bond, writer of the music, was not only present but was also the conductor for the evening. Gramercy Trio, under Bond’s musical direction, skillfully maneuvered through the score. Filled with atonal and complex orchestrations, Bond’s music strikes a fine balance between some very vibrant and cheery melodies followed by quite a few haunting and more chaotic progressions which coincide with the show’s climax. [more]

The Tempest Songbook

April 8, 2015

Gotham Chamber Opera's hour-long program at the Metropolitan Museum, entitled "The Tempest Songbook," took these truisms into account by alternating Shakespeare settings by the contemporary Finnish master Kajia Saariaho, with Baroque-era settings attributed to Purcell. Those who found Saariaho's language unfamiliar or taxing were given a reassuring figured bass to fall back on, while those who found the typical Baroque Aria da Capo form tediously repetitious were never more than a few minutes away from the next of Saariaho's elegant and colorful modernist miniatures. Soprano Jennifer Zetlan and bass-baritone Thomas Richards were both excellent, sounding completely at ease and consistently expressive in this sometimes challenging music. The ensemble of Baroque instruments was conducted with élan by Neal Goren, and the production directed and choreographed elegantly by Luca Veggetti. [more]

Sisyphus

March 1, 2015

"Sisyphus" played at the Abrons Arts Center this February, the newest avant-garde production from Experiments In Opera. Composers Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, and Matthew Welch (acting as their own librettists) created a promising concept for an opera, with a cultural abundance of Greek myth at their disposal to create a beautiful libretto. However, this world premiere was a case of more tragedy, full of missed opportunities, rather than inspiring. [more]

Slow Dusk & Markheim

December 11, 2014

Two one-act operas by Carlisle Floyd are being presented by The Little Opera Theater of NY, newly arranged for chamber orchestra. One is a very early work, the other is mature, and for those who are interested in the material this is a worthwhile presentation of music you're unlikely to encounter elsewhere anytime soon. [more]

El gato con botas

December 10, 2014

Whether you regularly go to the opera or not, the Gotham Chamber Opera and Tectonic Theater Project's co-production of El gato con botos is an enchanting theater event that will leaving you smiling. It is also an extremely clever use of multimedia sure to amaze all theatergoers. Moisés Kaufman proves himself to be an ingenious director of music theater. [more]

Chelsea Opera: The Face on the Barroom Floor & Emperor Norton

November 15, 2014

Since its composition and premiere in 1978, "The Face on the Barroom Floor" has been a familiar piece in the repertoire of small American and European opera companies for good reason: it is an accessible, well-conceived and lovely work. "Emperor Norton," written just four years later, is even stronger than The Face: it is more substantive musically, artistically and intellectually. This performance was "Emperor Norton"'s New York premiere. [more]

A Wake and a Wedding

November 11, 2014

Encompass New Opera Theatre, under longtime director Nancy Rhodes, is presenting the East Coast premiere of Richard Pearson Thomas's chamber opera A Wake or a Wedding at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. The opera is a burlesque of 19th Century melodrama, with stereotypical characters and a series of silly 'revelations' to resolve the convoluted plot. The music uses an accessible mid-century modernist style, conservative but not inappropriately so. [more]

Sichuan Opera Theater of Chengdu: Raging Waves in the Sea of Desire

November 1, 2014

Acclaimed playwright Xiu Fen – one of China's most influential contemporary women writers – takes Eugene O'Neill's setting and opening plot elements, transforming Puritan New England into a small Chinese village, and focuses on the cruel, miserly old man, his new, very young and beautiful wife, and the young son who enters into an adulterous affair with his father's bride. O'Neill himself, writing stunningly innovative plays in the early twentieth century, looked to ancient Greek tragedies for his inspiration and to tragedy's archetypal figures. [more]

Gotham Chamber Opera: Alexandre bis & Comedy on the Bridge

October 26, 2014

Since 2001, Gotham Chamber Opera has specialized in the production of major operas – well known, not known, new, traditional, experimental – and has developed a reputation for intelligence and a consistently high level of artistic integrity. This pair of Martinu comic operas, sung by an enthusiastic young cast performing on a gorgeously set stage, preserves Gotham Chamber Opera's fine reputation. [more]

The Power of Love: Two New Operatic Musicals

September 20, 2014

it was almost entirely slow music, and over 90 minutes of it, something which might give even a Wagnerian pause. This is billed as a new piece, so perhaps it's not too late to suggest that the authors consider some discreet compression, as the opera might benefit from judicious cuts. It takes perhaps half an hour to read the original story, and its brevity is one reason for its effectiveness; but this was more than three times that length, though the original Hawthorne plot has been only very slightly expanded. [more]

The Tender Land

June 28, 2014

Strongest in the cast were Ms. Brittingham as Laurie and Mr. Fredericks as Grandpa. Some of the other singers were defeated by the church acoustics, and director Lynne Hayden-Findlay did what she could with the impossibly tiny playing area. Conductor Samuel McCoy kept everything running smoothly and the ensemble sounded well. [more]

Waking in New York

June 8, 2014

The three sopranos, Compassion, Freedom I and Freedom II, whether singing alone or in various combinations, functioned as the voices of Ginsberg's muses, embodying individual threads of Ginsberg's philosophical preoccupations and convictions. [more]

Gotham Chamber Opera: The Raven

June 5, 2014

The understanding of music as an exploration of the shifting relationship of sound and silence, of creation and emptiness echoes Poe's purposes in The Raven: the story of a love lost and never to be recovered is also an exploration of constantly shifting experiences of discovery and loss, hope and despair, communion and isolation, life and death. [more]
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