Category Archives: Musical America

Benjamin Britten

By accident or by design, two of Los Angeles’ major musical organizations have taken on Benjamin Britten simultaneously this month. If you were at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County – the mouthful of a new name for the former perfectly well-named Music Center – last Saturday (October 21),  you could have bathed […]


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 […]

Hollywood Bowl Opener

There are two ways of regarding the Hollywood Bowl, that vast unroofed monument to the senses that looms large above the unreality of its hometown and beguiles visitors over a 14-week stretch each summer – and which finally got down to business in its 79th season earlier this week with the last of two weeks’ […]


In the fertile soil of Oregon, the natives obsessively proclaim, everything grows better than anywhere else: tomatoes, strawberries, tall corn and music. Nothing better confirms the thesis than the Oregon Bach Festival, whose 31st season concludes this weekend [July 9] after three weeks, 55 events, joyously devoted to the music of  Bach and far beyond. […]


With the announcement of Kent Nagano’s appointment as principal conductor, the Los Angeles Opera’s new leadership took a major step toward rounding out its team. The announcement was made Thursday (June 8) by incoming artistic director Plácido Domingo; Nagano joins incoming artistic administrator (=dramaturg) Edgar Baitzel and executive director Ian White-Thompson to command the direction […]


(Premiere: Houston Grand Opera, Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, April 14, 2000. Future performances: April 16 (m), 19, 22, 25,28, 30 (m), May 6.) Life goes on, and so does Carlisle Floyd. “Cold Sassy Tree,” which brought a clearly  delighted audience to its feet at Houston’s Wortham Theater Center last Friday, is the fourth of […]


Times were, when a serious opera was considered properly staged when the time-and-place coincided with the libretto’s stipulation, and the words and music coincided with the composer’s final view of the work. Consider, now, these three productions by the Los Angeles Opera during its current season: a “Hansel and Gretel” with the moppets at large […]


Every operatic soprano makes her own kind of peace with the music of Verdi. Far rarer and more precious, however, is the singer with the innate, essential Verdi in her voice: the throb, the marvelous iridescence as the simplest, purest melodic line whose accents of heartbreak transfigure the stage and the audience as well. Licia […]