"Augmented reality reached the Bayreuth Festival this season. The festival originally planned to supply the entire audience for Jay Scheib’s new staging of Parsifal with specially designed glasses to experience the production’s three-dimensional moving images. Instead only 300 ticket holders received the glasses for each show. While Scheib offered a modern, well-thought-out reading of Parsifal’s text and music, the nonstop barrage of images threatened to turn the innovative aspects of this Parsifal into visual Muzak."
"Opera Maine’s Cenerentola delivered an evening of boisterous laughs and thrilling vocalism, and, in the role of Angelina, Hongni Wu met all the coloratura challenges set by Rossini, singing with an elegance and emotive beauty that transformed even simple phrases into meaningful sentiments."
"Directed by Matthew Ozawa, Cincinnati Opera's powerful thought-provoking new production of Madama Butterfly is an extraordinary re-envisioning of the opera, a subtle critique that does no violence to the work but focuses attention on what is already there. The revelatory production—created jointly with the Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Utah Opera Companies—certainly deserves wide exposure."
"There are more viscerally exciting historical operas inspired by Tudor dynastic history, but Henri VIII is worth hearing: its ensemble scenes and processions are well constructed and divertingly energetic in the mode of Spontini and Meyerbeer. Leon Botstein—who led a 2012 concert of the opera—fared solidly in the pit and Jean-Romain Vesperini's fully staged production rendered the occasionally melodramatic action comprehensible, and was quite handsome to see."
The composer speaks about how she learned to write for the voice, her efforts to foster greater inclusion among future composers and her chamber opera, Proving Up, which receives performances at Juilliard in February.
F. Paul Driscoll speaks with tenor Russell Thomas about his new appointment as LA Opera's artist-in-residence, how he finds inspiration in old recordings, and the repertoire that he hopes to take on during the next phase of his career.
Our favorite selections from Tchaikovsky's great romance, sung by an all-star cast, from Ivan Kozlovsky, Leonid Sobinov, Jussi Björling and Galina Vishnevskaya to Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Peter Mattei and Renée Fleming.