Monthly Archives: December 2001


The chimera of the long-forgotten masterwork, languishing in history’s dustbin then rediscovered and newly acclaimed, fires any opera producer’s hopes and ambitions. Surely no opera has accumulated a thicker coat of dust – at least in the world annals – than Tigran Chukhadjian’s Arshak II, which had its world premiere (sort of) during the opening […]

Courage Beyond the Call

The Philharmonic’s ongoing ”Schoenberg Prism,“ the long-overdue tribute to the resident who endured only limited celebrity status here in his lifetime, leans with undue caution toward the composer‘s more ”accessible“ side — the post-romantic works like Transfigured Night, Pelleas and Melisande and the chamber symphonies. Other organizations in town — the County Museum and Southwest […]


Within five minutes of the opening skirmish in the San Francisco Opera’s jihad against The Merry Widow, its new script had touched upon such non-Pontevedrian matters as rolling blackouts and mutual funds. Such were the with-it fancies of contemporary playwright Wendy Wasserstein, brought in to tin-plate the spoken dialogue in the Victor Léon/Leo Stein libretto […]

Minimal Merriment

The Merry Widow here, The Merry Widow there: twice in four days, and twice betrayed. Shouldn’t there be a Purple Heart for critics? Having found much to deplore in the San Francisco Opera‘s current jihad against Franz Lehar’s endearing and enduring theater piece, my colleague Mark Swed ventured the assurance that the Los Angeles Opera‘s […]