Commentary

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

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

Please 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.

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

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

Working with an ensemble that obviously had deep feeling for the music, Noseda drew thoughtful, balanced playing from the utterly responsive LSO. All throughout, his controlled-yet-fluid conducting reflected the grandiose scale of the piece, a monumental expression of mourning and human confrontation with death.

Butterfly, Fly Away: Mascagni’s “Iris” at Bard SummerScape

Butterfly, Fly Away: Mascagni’s “Iris” at Bard SummerScape

Pietro Mascagni’s grim opera about a stultifyingly naïve girl who is kidnapped from her blind father by a lecherous young man and then sold into prostitution in legendary Japan seems unnecessarily nauseating and indeed, it sometimes feels that way. But sordid stories often yield stunning operas, and Iris, now seeing the light of the sun (Ha!) in a rare revival as part of Bard College’s 2016 SummerScape festival, is everything verismo should be: Devastating, provocative, and direct.

Separated by a Sea: “Die Entfürung aus dem Serail” and a New Production of “Elektra” at the Met

Separated by a Sea: “Die Entfürung aus dem Serail” and a New Production of “Elektra” at the Met

They may make a mismatched pair, but both Die Entfürung aus dem Serail and Elektra (especially Elektra) are being executed with great care at the Met.

Dogeball: “I Due Foscari” at Teatro Alla Scala

Dogeball: “I Due Foscari” at Teatro Alla Scala

Luca Salsi, Anna Pirozzi, Francesco Meli, and Michele Mariotti make a strong case for Verdi’s “I Due Foscari” at Teatro alla Scala.

The Sound and the Furies: Handel’s “Orlando” at Carnegie Hall

The Sound and the Furies: Handel’s “Orlando” at Carnegie Hall

The English Concert, in their annual Carnegie Hall operatic appearance, never fails to impress, and intelligent, confident music making at Sunday’s performance of Handel’s Orlando made a sterling case for Baroque opera as exciting theater.

Magic Virtues: “Don Pasquale” at the Metropolitan Opera

Magic Virtues: “Don Pasquale” at the Metropolitan Opera

Winning performances by Javier Camarena and Eleonora Buratto dominate this uneven-yet-enjoyable revival of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” at the Met.