Category Archives: Opera News


PETER HEMMINGS, Enfield, Middx, England, April 10, 1934 – Dorset, England, January 4, 2002 Where others had failed, or succeeded only halfway, Hemmings planted the operatic seed in the Los Angeles cultural desert and nursed it into full bloom. Determinedly ignoring a chorus of naysayers, charming a support structure into existence by dint of soft-spoken […]


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 […]


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 […]


“I go to bed early,” says Margaret, Duchess of Argyll to a gossip-columnist snoop, “and often.” That said, however, you need to know that Powder Her Face, the opera by Thomas Adès that in six years has blazed a trail of adulation worldwide, from Aspen to Zagreb, is not exactly your basic bedtime story. What […]


Land of strong lumberjacks and even stronger coffee, Seattle moves ever onward toward its unlikely transmogrification into the Bayreuth of the West.  In little more than a quarter-century, the city’s intrepid operagoers have had  three separate and distinct versions of  Ring des Nibelungen set before them, unalike in appearance and conception, triumphant in audience acclaim. […]


Nobody has ever suggested that running an opera company – let alone two companies the width of  a continent apart – might be for Plácido Domingo an easygoing diversion. Nobody need be all that startled, therefore, at the few dark rumblings around the edges of the glory at the start of the Domingo era at […]


Half a century ago almost to the day, a 21-year-old  dollar-a-gig super in an Otello in Los Angeles’ cavernous Shrine Auditorium was so bitten by the operatic bug that he chucked his pre-medical studies forthwith. Fifty years later, on the telephone from his general director’s office at the San Francisco Opera – back from a […]