March 24, 2020 The Wearing of the Green
One week past St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration of Irish singers - especially Irish tenors - especially the greatest of them all, Count John McCormack.
November 19, 2019 Keep Your Cards Close
Tchaikovsky conquered the concerto and symphony but struggled with opera, so each choice of topic was a big decision. With the help of a close circle, though beset by doubts, he scored a hit with Queen of Spades, starting 11/29 at the Met.
November 12, 2019 Eternal City
Riccardo Muti, whose relationship with the Italian capital has been politically charged and artistically rocky, is nevertheless his country's leading cultural spokesman on the world scene today. He leads a Roman-themed program 11/15 at Carnegie.
November 5, 2019 The Way Forward?
Philip Glass's once-controversial Akhnaten reaches the Met starting November 8. There was a time when "minimalism" meant, to mainstream opera-goers, something just a step removed from sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Time for a new look.
October 29, 2019 How Did Puccini Do It?
The all-time box-office champion, then and now, shows no sign of ceding his title. There is no "occasion" for celebrating Puccini, since all opera houses rely on him in all seasons to keep the doors open. But why?
October 15, 2019 A Moment for Marlboro
America's favorite chamber music festival has a long history, and marks a turning point in a longer one: how Europe's music found its home in the New World. Music from Marlboro 10/21 at Carnegie.
October 8, 2019 The Purity of Reform
Almost as long as there has been opera, there has been a desire to purge it of superficialities and return to its roots. That impulse, even though backward-looking, has produced some of the boldest steps forward, and sometimes also music of overwhelming beauty. Orfeo ed Euridice, starting 10/20 at the Met.
September 24, 2019 First Try With Shakespeare
Verdi's affinity for Shakespeare, a true kindred artist, led to the crowning glories with which he finished his career. But his love for the English dramatist was already full-blown half-a-lifetime earlier, and Macbeth (starting 9-25 at the Met) helped Verdi become Verdi.
September 17, 2019 America's Opera
The only opera written since 1930 that is absolutely sure to sell tickets
was Gershwin's first and, tragically, last. Porgy and Bess, starting 9-23 at the Met