Erling Wold’s MORDAKE

May 24th, 2008|

My congratulations to San Francisco composer colleague Erling Wold on the premiere of his new opera Mordake. This is not a review, and so I’ll stop short of providing a lot of detail. […]

More Bluebeard’s Castle

April 21st, 2008|

In the course of researching (read: obsessing over) Bartók’s one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle, I came across a Hungarian film adaptation of the piece on YouTube. It’s annoyingly divided into fourteen segments, but anyone familiar with the piece or interested should take a look. […]

Berkeley Bluebeard

April 20th, 2008|

I’d like to alert Bay Area readers to the upcoming performances by Berkeley Opera of my two favorite one-acts, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. These two composers are not particularly known for their dramatic works, but each work reveals the composer’s complete mastery of music for the stage. An evening consisting of both of these works is not to be missed. […]

So, Like, What’s With the Seven Doors?

December 18th, 2007|

Well, we’re here. This is my castle.

This is your castle? Kinda creepy.

Yeah. You sure you want to come in here?


Well, okay then.

So, like, what’s with the seven doors?

You don't want to know.

Open them up.

Um, I don't think so.

Aw, come on. Just one?

Okay, but don't say [...]

A New Book on American Opera

October 2nd, 2007|

Sometime last year I struck up an email correspondence via this blog with poet/librettist Karren Alenier, whose opera with composer William Banfield Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On was premiered in 2005 in New York by Encompass New Opera Theatre. Karren has written a very entertaining book about what it takes to see an opera project through from concept to production. […]

Doctor Atomic Symphony at the Proms

August 22nd, 2007|

Last night the BBC Symphony premiered John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony, and my spies tell me you can still listen to the stream for another week. Go here and look for Prom 50. More info on the concert is available here. (You’ll also […]

John Adams: A Flowering Tree

March 4th, 2007|

Last year I was very hard on John Adams’ opera Doctor Atomic. I wanted to like it, but, while I admired the music, I was disappointed in it as drama. Having now seen the San Francisco Symphony’s semi-staged production of Adams’ new opera A Flowering […]

Picking on Picker

December 13th, 2005|

Since I’m not in New York, I have not seen the Met’s production of Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy, nor am I likely to. Judging from the reasons given by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times for his disappointment in the new commissioned work, I’d say it […]