• 56646 Hoffmann Diana Damrau La Opera

    The dreaded cast change

    This past weekend, I flew to Los Angeles, both to visit family and to see the opening night of The Tales of Hoffmann at LA Opera. It promised to be a starry occasion: Vittorio Grigolo as Hoffmann, Diana Damrau as the four heroines, Kate Lindsey as Niklausse/Muse, …

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  • Fleming Graham Rosenkavalier

    Mezzosexuality, or, the hotness of trouser roles

    Paris Opera, 2005. Annio lies next to Sesto as they sing a duet about their mutual affection. After the final notes, Annio rolls towards Sesto, places a blindfold over her eyes, and leans in for a kiss. As I watch the DVD, my brain struggles …

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  • Festspielhaus

    A brief history of opera etiquette

    The etiquette of attending the opera can seem convoluted. Dress up, but how much up varies by the house and your seats and whether it’s an opening night. Don’t applaud after the first act of Parsifal. Or maybe do; it’s confusing. Shout “bravo” or “brava” or …

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  • Alenza Romanticismo

    Verdi and the Spanish Romantic drama

    Some nights when I’m feeling emotionally indulgent, I read terrible plays. These are the sort of melodramatic trash where cloaks, hats, and daggers abound. Outcast heroes woo angelic women, but family strife or jealous rivals ensure tragic outcomes. In short, they’re opera plots without the music …

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  • Metchandelier

    At the Met in 2017-18: the good, the bad and the ugly

    At noon on February 15, the Metropolitan Opera announced their 2017–18 season. Journalists and Twitterati responded with disappointment: it’s a safe season full of mostly standard repertoire. Still, there are a few operas and casts I am very much looking forward to seeing. Here’s my …

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