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NEWS
April 16, 1988 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The houselights dim, the conductor brings down the baton and the curtain goes up on the 11 o'clock news. That's the way it is when Channel 12 airs John Adams' opera Nixon in China (3 p.m. tomorrow). The opera, obviously, is based on the momentous visit in 1972 of President Richard M. Nixon, his wife, Pat, and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger to China. History changed in those five days, China began to open its doors and world political balances shifted radically. But is an opera a documentary?
ENTERTAINMENT
December 11, 2005 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
In our town, we like to think we have it all at holiday time - the Pennsylvania Ballet's million-dollar production of The Nutcracker, the Philly Pops' jazz-lush standards, a Philadelphia Orchestra Christmas series of high orchestral-butterfat content, and any number of Messiahs. But there's an important piece missing in action, something you can't see and hear. Something you should. And something that's a lot more than a holiday chestnut - in fact, a piece that could be the answer to what ails a lot of arts groups both short- and long-term.
NEWS
November 12, 1992 | By Lisa Schwartz, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
When it comes to opera, there's Vienna. There's Milan. New York. Now there's Pennsauken. Yes, Pennsauken - the town of 34,000 where an opera company that started in a living room is now hosting an American premiere. Mozart and Friends Festival, a Pennsauken-based community opera group, will present an American premier of The Beggar's Opera on Nov. 27 and 28 - an opera filled with colorful characters such as prostitutes, crooks and shady gentlemen. Beggar's is the fifth performance sponsored by Mozart and Friends, a nonprofit group that began in 1988, when Melinda Gaffney and 10 neighbors staged a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute for their family and friends in her crowded Pennsauken living room.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Richard Strauss worshiped at the shrine of Mozart. Strauss, composer of gargantuan works that used orchestras of more than 100 players and incorporated wind machines, nevertheless proclaimed his admiration of Mozart's transparent instrumental pieces and the clarity of the operas that Mozart wrote with Lorenzo da Ponte. Der Rosenkavalier was, to Strauss, the counterpart of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, and when Strauss came to write the music for Die Frau ohne Schatten, he had Mozart's Die Zauberflote in mind as his model.
NEWS
January 20, 1988 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Arrigo Boito's great cantata on the Faust theme, Mefistofele, was staged Monday night at the Academy of Music in a way that argued for its continuing life as a cantata. The work, which will be repeated Friday, is the third in the Opera Company of Philadelphia series of operas on the Faust theme and the first with Paata Burchuladze in the pivotal role of Mefistofele. The choice of Burchuladze was significant, for the young Georgian bass is singing at the top of his form, his voice ringing through its full range.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 1995 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Lee Breuer, librettist and director of American Music Theater's newly revived hit, The Gospel at Colonnus, was back in town Friday night. Lulu was back in town, too: Lulu, the 15-year-old nymphet who preceded Nabokov's Lolita. Few remember Frank Wedekind, the turn-of-the-century German playwright who created her and inspired Georg Pabst's film noir and Alban Berg's opera. Now, Breuer and composer/trumpeter Jon Faddis have made another Lulu opera. Lulu Noire simplifies the storyline Berg used and pares it down to five singers.
NEWS
November 18, 1989 | By Peter Dobrin, Special to The Inquirer
As Ilana Davidson rehearses her role in Viktor Ullmann's The Emperor of Atlantis, she concentrates on singing the right notes, finding the right place on stage, and listening for cues. The 23-year-old opera student at the Curtis Institute of Music can take in the beautiful score and appreciate the power of its story. But it won't be until the production at Curtis has ended its four-performance run, which begins today, that she'll be able to begin to think about the opera's composer and the circumstances under which the work was written.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 30, 1993 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Orchestra 2001, one of the area's more imaginative ensembles, concludes its season with excerpts from Andrew Rudin's brand new opera, The Three Sisters, based on the play by Chekhov. Soloists include the engaging mezzo-soprano Suzanne DuPlantis. The chamber orchestra, led by James Freeman, also will unveil a new work by Curtis student Shailen Tuli, which won the group's recent composition competition. Orchestra 2001 at Swarthmore College's Lang Concert Hall, College Avenue and Route 320, Swarthmore at 8 tonight and at the University of the Arts' Laurie Wagman Hall, 311 S. Broad St., at 8 p.m. Sunday.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 10, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The Santa Fe Opera is celebrating its 30th birthday in ways familiar to anyone who has shuddered at crossing that traumatic threshold. John Crosby's company, with its glorious home in the hills outside Santa Fe, is unique. Artists from all over are attracted not only to the setting but to the ambitious and stimulating productions of the company. The collegial atmosphere in the past has contributed to the quality of shows. The audience, too, is cosmopolitan, coming literally from all over the world to this mecca of American opera production, with its unusual repertory.
NEWS
May 25, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The New York Philharmonic is not where audiences typically go for end-of-the-world adventures with potentially scandalous music. But in an event that's sure to draw at least as many listeners from outside the city as from its core audience, the orchestra this week not only will perform its first-ever fully staged opera, but will do so with a prickly, sprawling work that the usual operatic institutions lack either the moxie or the money to mount....
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 17, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
WILMINGTON - Nearly every time you look down at the sidewalk, there's a stenciled image of a mustachioed face and the word "Essere. " The source of this is OperaDelaware, which has imposed the likeness of little-known composer Franco Faccio onto the local landscape while making his opera Hamlet part of the international landscape after 145 years of obscurity. "Essere" means "to be" - better than "not to be. " With an intelligent cast, solid direction both on stage and in the orchestra pit, plus the treat of being at Wilmington's lovely Grand Opera House, the opera's East Coast premiere on Saturday is what OperaDelaware hoped for: an event worth traveling for with Hamlet presented in repertory with Verdi's Falstaff . Faccio buried his opera after a disastrous 1871 La Scala production - and now, resurrected by conductor Anthony Barrese, it feels strangely familiar but new, like something Verdi should've written but didn't.
NEWS
May 8, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
WILMINGTON - Poisoned goblets. A skull. And swords. Such iconic objects - all carefully laid out in the corner of the rehearsal room - can only add up to Hamlet . "We're ready!" said Brendan Cooke, general director of OperaDelaware. But not for the play. It's an operatic version, by a composer whose name is unknown even to opera mavens. Amleto (as it is known in Italian) by Franco Faccio (1840-91) had a disastrous 1871 La Scala premiere, when the star tenor had neither a voice nor an understudy.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 7, 2016
Theater 11th Hour Theatre Company: See What I Wanna See Michael John LaChiusa's musical trio of stories about lust, greed, murder, faith & redemption.. Closes 5/15. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.; 267-987-9865. www.11thhourtheatrecompany.org . $11-$40. 1812 Productions: I Will Not Go Gently Comedy about how various people handle the challenges of middle age. Closes 5/15. Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey St. $36-$42. A Single Shard An orphan in 12th-century Korea struggles to master the art of pottery & achieve a better life.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 3, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
The current season of Opera Philadelphia's high ambition came, if not to a rest, then at least to a relative slowing Friday night with the opening of a Santa Fe Opera/Stephen Lawless production of L'elisir d'amore . This is the company's fourth iteration of the work since 1982, and though Donizetti's score can grow dull, there are still good reasons to believe that there is magic to be had between the notes. The current iteration at the Academy of Music has at least two such reasons.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 30, 2016
Friday-Saturday By the numbers The "symphonic theater" work O Monsters First Draft performed by New Paradise Laboratories tells a fractured fairy tale about an odd family living in a "mansion made of numbers" and living under the rule of a matriarch who bases her decisions on a mysterious poetic equation that keeps the house from disintegrating. It's set to a score by the intriguing composer Bhob Rainey, derived from the mathematics of NASA asteroid tracking, Internet traffic patterns, and stock market prices ("phenomena that represent, to me, a certain unruly indifference that the universe holds towards our interpretation of it")
NEWS
April 18, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
Will a seismic movement on the podium of the Metropolitan Opera have reverberations in Philadelphia? Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been frequently seen as a prime candidate to succeed James Levine, whose shift to music director emeritus after a four-decade tenure was announced Thursday in New York by the Met. But apart from whether the Met actually offers the job to Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra...
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