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Latest Operas Stories

2008-07-16 18:00:26

By Lisa Millegan, The Modesto Bee, Calif. Jul. 16--MURPHYS -- Shakespeare gets a 1980s makeover in Murphys Creek Theatre's "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Cast members wear rock 'n' roll T-shirts, tight jeans and heavy-metal hair and play out their scenes in a trailer park. The updated setting is a clever choice by director Graham Scott Green and works well given the comedy's bawdy jokes and lowbrow pranks. But the show, which is staged outdoors in Stevenot Winery's wooded amphitheater,...

2008-07-15 15:00:35

By D.S. Crafts For the Journal Once again we are at sea with the Santa Fe Opera. Several years ago the company successfully staged Benjamin Britten's opera about the mad fisherman Peter Grimes. Now an arresting new production of that same composer's "Billy Budd" opened Saturday night, the opera's first mounting of the revised version of the piece from 1961. This story of the merciless execution of a young seaman aboard HMS Indomitable from the pen of Herman Melville takes place during...

2008-07-15 03:00:24

By David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer Jul. 15--PRINCETON -- For all of this community's affluence, superb venues, and ample IQ points, opera hasn't been the most dependable presence here, though this fifth season of Opera New Jersey may be a positive turning point. The opening-weekend productions of La Traviata and La Cenerentola filled the niche of quality summer opera in a congenial chamber setting more successfully than ever before. It's true that sets are mostly...

2008-07-13 09:00:25

By John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune Jul. 13--The comprehensive series of recordings of Benjamin Britten conducting and playing his own music that Decca released during the 1960s and '70s helped immeasurably to ensure that the great British composer's works were widely performed during his lifetime and after his death in 1976. They also are an important reason why his reputation has survived the slings and arrows of shifting critical opinion over the years. Now Decca has dipped into the...

2008-07-13 09:00:25

By Anna Picard Even witty, cinematic sets can't inject life into a flat production that needs London's sulphurous streets to make the satire sing Classical The Rake's Progress Royal Opera House LONDON Blank Canvas 93 Feet East LONDON 'Ruin, Disaster, Shame!" The great choral cry of the Crowd of Respectable Citizens at the start of Act III of The Rake's Progress has never seemed so apposite. Lauded in Brussels, Lyon and San Francisco, Canadian director Robert Lepage's lavish...

2008-07-11 09:00:26

By Sue Gilmore, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif. Jul. 11--New York-based tenor Noah Stewart, 29, starring as Manrico in Festival Opera's upcoming production of Verdi's "Il Trovatore," is poised at the beginning of a professional career. Already, however, he has scaled a couple of euphoria-inducing heights. Being selected for the San Francisco Opera's 2006 roster of Merola trainees was just a starting point; moving up from there to the prestigious Adler Fellow program the next...

2008-07-10 12:00:45

By MICHAEL CHURCH Opera HANSEL UND GRETEL Glyndebourne Festival EAST SUSSEX Productions of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hnsel und Gretel are like London buses: you vainly wait decades for one, then along come two at the same time, courtesy of Covent Garden in the autumn and Glyndebourne next week. This adaptation of a Grimm story may be part of the standard repertoire in German houses, but here it's consigned to that critical limbo: "for children". "But as with all good fairy stories," says...

2008-07-10 09:00:56

By Marc Shulgold Concert opera comes with a trunkload of problems. It's not so much what's there, but what's missing. On Wednesday, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival presented a truncated, stand-and-sing version of Puccini's La Boheme, with no less than the mighty Philadelphia Orchestra accompanying on the Ford Amphitheatre stage. The orchestration, as most opera lovers know, is magnificent - lush and wonderfully supportive. But then, this is an opera. So it's all about the...

2008-07-09 06:00:24

By Anthony Tommasini At first glance, the main hall of the Park Avenue Armory, an open space the length of a football field with a vaulted ceiling that looks rather like a 19th-century European train terminal, would not seem a likely setting for an opera production. Yet over the years some daring directors and conductors have walked into the armory and become immediately enthralled with its potential, only to have their fantasies dashed by pragmatic questions. Where do you place an...

2008-07-05 00:00:15

The Buxton Festival has a long track record of exploring some unexpected corners of the opera repertoire. This year's headliner is a real rarity - The Poacher (Der Wildschutz) by the early 19th-century German composer Albert Lortzing. A comedy about love, disguise and social class, with a game of billiards thrown in, it is conducted by the festival's director, Andrew Greenwood. Samson is one of Handel's most dramatic oratorios, and as such cries out to be staged. His treatment of the...