Monthly Archives: September 2000

Plácidalia: The Empire Strikes Ahead

Photo by Peter Mountain First there was the promise: “Operalia,” Plácido Domingo’s contest teeming with enough spectacular young singing talent to run half a dozen opera companies. Then there was fulfillment: Aïda at long last, imperfectly sung but strongly led; Wagner at long last, heaven-sent. Then came the reward: big money allocated by philanthropist Alberto […]

The Grandeur That Was (Or Might Have Been) Egypt

Finally Aida, worth the wait if not quite worth the weight. The auspices are splendid: the 15th opening night for a company that some had predicted wouldn’t reach its second; the inaugural effort for a new artistic director, and, for him at least, an unqualified success. Aida is not the grandest of Verdi‘s grandissimo operas; […]


Los Angeles, September 11. To the small but ardent hordes of compleat Wagnerites hereabouts, denied sustenance over the years – a mere two productions in 14 seasons —  by the Los Angeles Opera’s favoring glances toward other repertories, this past few days’ activities have come as a mingling of manna from heaven and redemption here […]


Any opera company worth its music stands, or so you’d think, would honor  “Aida” as a the crown jewel in its repertory; no other opera, after all, so fully epitomizes everything embraced under the term “operatic.” Still, it has taken the Los Angeles Opera all the years from its shaky start in 1986 until this […]


Along about nine o’clock on Tuesday night, a slender young soprano with the tongue-twisting name of Isabel Bayrakdarian – Lebanese-born, now Canadian — came onto the stage at UCLA’s Royce Hall, wrapped her honey-textured voice around the equally tongue-twisting divisions in Rossini’s killer aria “Bel raggio lusinghier” (from “Semiramide”) and gave off the star quality […]

Fourth Right

By late August, most of my crack-pot enthusiasm about the Hollywood Bowl and its contents has worn pretty thin. On Tuesday of last week, for example, I took it as a reprieve that the day of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony dawned chill and rainy; could the Powers That Be have read my mind on the subject, […]