November 7, 1990
If Philadelphia's cultural institutions are forever troubled, they also seem to be forever resilient. This thought occurred to us Monday night in the midst of the Opera Company of Philadelphia's delightful production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. The sets were beautiful, the performers seemed to be having a ball up on the stage, and the audience filling the Academy of Music - from the students in highest balconies to the black-tie set in the parquet - was having a wonderful time.
September 25, 1998 |
I got rhythm I got music I got Ira Who could ask for anything more? Those simple, slightly amended phrases are a signature of George Gershwin's remarkable life. Between his birth - 100 years ago tomorrow - and his death from a brain tumor at 38, he left an astounding musical legacy. Reams have been written about how he would have transformed American music even further if he had lived as long (until 86) as his lyricist brother Ira, but we must be content with a mere six "classical" pieces, the grand opera "Porgy and Bess," and hundreds of beloved songs, mostly from shows and films.
January 21, 2013 |
Before the dawn, in a barely civilized netherworld where animals and humans change into one another, Wolf-in-Skins begins. The new theater piece, opening Friday at Temple University's Conwell Dance Theater, revives ancient legends in a modern hybrid of dance and opera. Violent witchery is a frequent plot point. Characters' names have the barbaric, guttural sound of old Welsh. "Grotesque monstrosities juxtaposed with the pure and holy" is how choreographer Christopher Williams describes his fascination with the mythology that drew him to create the first installment of what is projected to become a six-part saga.
May 6, 1994 |
Grand opera in elementary school? Well, it was opera, of sorts, and it was grand, definitely. Fourth graders - including (from left) Erin Hogan, Kalya Soldatenko and Rachel Pederson - at Ardmore Avenue Elementary in Lansdowne (with help from their teachers) wrote and produced an opera titled "6 Kids With an Attitude," then performed it this week. The school was selected by the Metropolitan Opera Guild Education Department to participate in the Creating Original Opera Program.
December 15, 1989 |
Grand opera and Parisian society mirrored each other in the middle of the 19th century. Opulence, extravagance, excess were the emblems of the age. Parisians in styles reflecting those emblems flocked to hear opera performed on the same scale. Composers created what the listeners expected, including a ballet in each grand opera about two hours after the opening curtain, to allow the truly social elite to arrive late and still see the dance. They created operas on a huge scale - William Tell, La Vestale, Le Prophete, Don Carlos - to deal with panoramic subjects.
September 20, 1992 |
Carmen, the siren last seen at the Pennsylvania Opera Theater a season ago, will slink back into town to open the Opera Company of Philadelphia's new season at the Academy of Music on Nov. 9. At the Opera Company, insiders say that they are excited about Denyce Graves, the mezzo-soprano who'll play the seductress. Graves, who has been impressing audiences in Washington and San Francisco, sings Carmen to the Don Jose of Vinson Cole, a tenor whose singing has frequently been admired here.
November 16, 2010 |
The mysteries of the creative process don't necessarily become clearer with age. In fact, the more composer Margaret Garwood talks about her multi-decade road to this week's premiere of her latest opera, The Scarlet Letter , the more she seems like a somewhat hesitant servant of an impractically grand stage work that chose her. "I assure you, this is my last one. You'd be crazy to start a new opera at 83, don't you think?" the compact, stylish Garwood said before a rehearsal at the Academy of Vocal Arts - itself not a typical place for new operas to be born.
November 1, 1989 |
The first 15 minutes of The Lisbon Traviata sound like six months of Opera News. References are made to Montserrat Caballe, Beverly Sills, Brigitte Nielsen, Renata Tebaldi, Dame Janet Baker, Eleanor Steber, Christa Ludwig, Renata Scotto, Jessye Norman and other illustrious divas. There is a purpose in bringing them up. They are cited only to compare them invidiously with Maria Callas - La Divina! - whose cult in death rivals Judy Garland's. Nobody in grand opera, but nobody, measures up to the all-time standard set by the driven, doomed Callas.
September 30, 1999 |
A Californian who has headed Stuttgart Opera for the last decade has been named to the top post of the San Francisco Opera, it was announced Tuesday. Pamela Rosenberg will succeed general director Lotfi Mansouri, who steps down in July 2000 after 12 years running the prestigious house. Rosenberg will take over a 77-year-old company that produces 11 annual productions, on a combined operating budget of $50 million. Its reputation for grand opera - and for adventurous premieres - puts it in the forefront of U.S. houses.
September 16, 1993 |
When tenor Walter Rinaldi bursts into song, heads turn, walls shake, and, most important to him, people smile. Most people know Rinaldi as the Towne House's singing maitre d', who serenades the diners with an a cappella song or two. But few probably know of Rinaldi's operatic accomplishments since he arrived in the United States on Christmas Eve, 1969, from Isorella, Italy - population 1,800. Rinaldi has performed on opera stages in New York City, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Milan and Rome, and twice this summer at Rose Tree Park in Media.