April 3, 2001 |
There's nothing cold about Carlisle Floyd's new opera, "Cold Sassy Tree." It speaks directly from the heart to the heart, with side trips through the funny bone. Its overwhelming immediacy makes it suspect in some quarters, but it is a major achievement, enriching modern American opera with a freshness and liveliness that seem remarkable coming from a 73-year-old composer.
July 23, 2002 |
A concert version of Puccini's "La Boheme" Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl wasn't just a great night at the Bowl. It was a great "Boheme." This was all the more striking because it's harder to hold attention or follow the action of an opera without costumes and staging and, especially these days when we've gotten so used to them, without supertitles.
April 19, 2004 |
As the operas of Janacek enter into the repertory, no self-respecting opera house dares ignore them. Saturday night at the Civic Theatre, San Diego Opera entered into the ranks of the self-respecting.
June 29, 1989 |
Under the innocuous rubric "Showcase '89," members of the San Francisco Opera Center, the parent company's finishing school for young professionals, applied themselves to a rare Handel opera, "Giustino," on Tuesday in the Herbst Theatre. What emerged was not only another obscure Handel work filled with musical marvels, but a heartening exhibition of what a generation ago would have been a dead-end experience for talents on the rise. The most one could expect from a study of Handel opera then was the acquisition of some recital warm-up pieces.
April 2, 1997 |
"Emmeline," the new opera by Tobias Picker that will be telecast on KCET-TV tonight, doesn't scream incest, but it does raise its voice with the dramatic revelation--this is opera after all. Still, that revelation comes only at the end, and it is so thoroughly set up that viewers know this is not hysterical daytime television; that it has nothing to do with the self-indulgence of Kathryn Harrison's best-selling memoir, "The Kiss," and none of the flavor of Hollywood exploiting a hot taboo.
January 28, 1996 |
Amid winter's adversities, one likes to recall how soon the warmer, sunnier seasons will arrive, bringing outdoor as well as indoor music to our ears. Three reminders: * At Santa Fe Opera, the summer company's 40th season offers five operas from June 28-Aug. 24: new productions of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" and Richard Strauss' "Daphne"; a revival of Mozart's "Don Giovanni"; and the premiere of Tobias Picker's "Emmeline," based on Judith Rossner's novel.
September 11, 2005 |
THIS fall, there will be no escaping the operatic explosion of John Adams' "Doctor Atomic." The entire music world will be focused on the new work's detonation by the San Francisco Opera on Oct. 1 (story Page E64). But the lead-up to it is also remarkable, opera-wise. Four more new operas will have been unveiled in the three weeks before this megaton premiere, and they are all revolutionary in one political, theatrical, sexual, conceptual or literary way or another.
July 11, 2006 |
Sunday was quite a day. There was jubilation on one side, despair on the other, as Italy beat France in a nail-biting finish to the World Cup. There was French captain Zinedine Zidane's head-butt foul, a flash of anger late in the game that ended his glorious career in ignominy. The last thing anyone might have expected later was the emergence of a new Tosca to reckon with.
September 27, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - A Stephen King opera had to happen. Many of his 56 novels have been made into movies and have spent time on bestseller lists, making King a king of pop culture accessibility - just what the opera world lusts after these days. Moreover, Maine's master of the supernatural is also fast rising in the ranks of literary respectability. On my way to see Tobias Picker's new opera based on "Dolores Claiborne" at San Francisco Opera on Wednesday night, I stopped off at University Press Books in Berkeley.
January 23, 2006 |
A decade ago, Los Angeles Opera had a Puccini problem: The composer's most popular works, and particularly "Madame Butterfly," were staged so routinely that they had become stale. But in 2004, a several-year break from "Butterfly" -- and then its reemergence as a, well, beautiful butterfly in Robert Wilson's glowing, elegant production, conducted with exceptional lyricism by Kent Nagano -- pretty much restored Puccini's theatrical and musical credibility.