Category Archives: Opera News


A staging of Don Giovanni that honored the rubrics of Lorenzo da Ponte’s dramatic outlines, and nothing more, would probably rank these days as downright retrograde. Such backward steps certainly do not figure in the 17-year history of the Los Angeles Opera. Its first production — by Jonathan Miller in 1991, all in gray on […]


No abandoned orphan draws such tears and frustrations as does Turandot, Puccini’s final work, left incomplete at the composer’s death in November 1924 and rushed to completion by lesser hands soon afterward. It remains a sad thought that 325 years of grand Italian opera tradition should come to its sputtering end in the merely competent […]


Like a chipped tooth that constantly lures the tip of the tongue, a musical score left unfinished broadcasts an irresistible summons. Never mind the magnificence of Mozart’s own contribution to his Requiem; accept with gratitude the two movements (plus an aborted start at a third) of the young Schubert’s B-minor Symphony. As long as these […]


No abandoned orphan draws the tears and the frustrations as does Turandot, Puccini’s final work, left incomplete at the composer’s death  in November, 1924 and rushed into completion by lesser hands soon afterward. True, the formidable Arturo Toscanini cut his performance short at the world premiere, at the point where the ailing Puccini himself had […]

“Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” at the LA Opera

The hoodoos that have bedeviled Dmitri Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk almost since its premiere, performed double duty in Los Angeles this past October. As with the seesawing fortunes of the composer himself, however,  the final notes were of triumph hard-won  and deserved. Anticipation had run high for the announced third offering in the Los […]


For the San Francisco Opera to undertake Olivier Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise – as the American stage première of the opera  now 19 years old – represented an act of faith several times over: above all the faith of Pamela Rosenberg’s new management that an audience coddled on easy-listening new operas (Dead Man Walking, A […]


Aside from a couple of college-based productions of distant memory, Leos Janacek’s Jenufa has remained a history-book entry in the Los Angeles area, but little more. That, of course, makes it ideal fodder for the intrepid explorative force known as the Long Beach Opera. In two performances in mid-June and in  typical Long Beach style, […]


Given the geographic proximity of the Los Angeles Music Center to the region’s other major cultural industry, you’d expect a close working relationship between the Los Angeles Opera and the surviving shards of the film industry. You’d be wrong, however; in the company’s seventeen years of operation, memories only of Herbert Ross’ spunky La Bohème […]


Think of a place in the high desert, a mile and a half above sea level. Oxygen is scarce at that altitude; it takes extra effort to climb  stairs or sing a cadenza. Water is scarce; maintaining a garden is a high-risk project. A single glass of wine has the kick of a double martini […]


San Francisco’s ardent Wagnerites, well-served by their opera company’s previous managements, now have reasons for some concern. Only one work by the object of their affection – and that the early and relatively brief Der fliegende Holländer – figures on the announced five-year programming of incoming general director Pamela Rosenberg. They had reasons, therefore, to […]