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In the Arms of an Angel: The Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera


Amanda Echalaz, Christine Rice

In Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s short story “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” a married couple comes upon an “angel” stranded in their back yard and, unsure of how to act, imprison it in their chicken coop. When the village priest comes to inspect, he warns the couple that the Devil has “the bad habit of making use of carnival tricks in order to confuse the unwary” and the Angel might be one of these tricks. If this doesn’t describe how Thomas Adès has treated Luis Buñuel’s satirical, claustrophobic The Exterminating Angel, then I don’t know what does. Continue Reading »

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September Review Roundup

After a very busy couple of months, I’m excited to be back with some links to reviews I wrote of performances from the month of September.

WNO's "Aida"

Both casts in Washington National Opera’s Aïda on Parterre Box


The National Gallery’s concert presentation of Letters from Ruth on Washington Classical Review


Signature Theatre’s production of A Little Night Music on Parterre Box

As D.C. fitfully shifts into an inconsistent fall, keep checking back here for reviews of all the most important classical vocal events in the District and nearby! Many thanks to my wonderful editors for giving me the opportunity to expand my journalistic platform.

Photos by Scott Suchman, Steve Hahn, and Christopher Mueller.

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Life Alert: Anna Netrebko Returns to “La Traviata” at La Scala

“Seldom does one see a characterization that both attempts and achieves so much. This complex, real Violetta was an even, nuanced melding of class, profession, illness, age, and spirituality. It transcended the “tart with a heart” stereotype and rendered a stark picture of the damaged, degraded life of a sick, insecure yet self-aware sex worker whose only out is suddenly taken from her.”

Netrebko and Meli La TraviataPlease head over to Parterre Box to read my thoughts on Anna Netrebko‘s magnificent return to the role of Violetta in La Traviata at Teatro alla Scala in Milan last week. With a cast including Francesco Meli and Leo Nucci, it was a performance that won’t soon be forgotten.

Photo courtesy of Teatro alla Scala Facebook

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Scheduled Programming: OT discusses “Carmen”

As some reviews from an unintentionally long winter hiatus slowly come together, I wanted to share with you all the program notes that I recently wrote for Lyric Opera of Chicago‘s production of Carmen. You can find my thoughts about the Prosper Merimée novella that inspired Bizet and his team, as well as some of the cultural context surrounding the opera’s premiere, on page 30. Enjoy!


You can purchase tickets to LOC’s production of Carmen here.

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

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Mass Appeal: Gianandrea Noseda Leads London Symphony Orchestra in Verdi’s Requiem

05noseda-master768There is nothing that fits better into Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, a meditative, spiritual lineup of fall concerts that serve as a welcome reprieve to the summer’s jam-packed Mostly Mozart Festival, than a performance of the massive (pun absolutely intended) Verdi Requiem. And when played and conducted with such attention to detail and overall largesse as it was by the London Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda, incoming Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, on Sunday, the result was a rejuvenating instance of the intersection of music and spirituality and the cause of the longest ovation I have heard in my years of concert going. Continue Reading »

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Rock-a-bye, Baby: “Jenůfa” at the Metropolitan Opera

jen_2561aThere comes a point in her Act II monologue when the Kostelnicka, the moral guardian of a turn-of-the-century mill town in Moravia and the step-mother of the titular Jenůfa, imagines how the villagers will decry her and her stepdaughter when they find out about Jenůfa’s illegitimate child. “Look at her! Look at her! Kostelnicka!” Well, with the white-knuckled Karita Mattila playing the upright, deeply conflicted Kostelnicka, it simply isn’t possible to look away. Continue Reading »

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Borrowed & Blue: “The Marriage of Figaro” at Washington National Opera

The Marriage of Figaro, WNOStill reeling from the mammoth Ring cycles it produced in the spring, Washington National Opera opened its 2016-17 season last week with an uneven, unjaded, if not unenjoyable, performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro that just couldn’t turn separate “jinx” from the desired “hijinks.” Continue Reading »