Jones the Ripper’s “Queen of Spades” in San Francisco – June 12, 2005

When is it cool to change the sexual orientation of an operatic character?* ¬†Suppose you are an “opera concept director”, and have decided you really want to make a statement on Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter”, but that your next operatic assignment is “Harvey Milk”, the opera by composer Stewart Wallace and librettist Michael Korie about the […]

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Madama Butterfly – November 1, 1956

This year marks the 50th¬†anniversary of my first performance of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”. The San Francisco Opera performance was held on the first of November at San Diego’s Fox Theatre and starred Dorothy Kirsten in the title role, Margaret Roggero as Suzuki, Giuseppe Campora as Pinkerton and Louis Quilico as Sharpless. Kirsten, the lyric soprano […]

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The Devil’s Details Part I – The Cox-Hockney ‘Rake’s Progress’

This two-part essay attempts to address four seemingly disparate issues. The first part celebrates a great interpretation of Stravinsky’s “Rake’s Progress” and begins a discussion of why that opera does not appear to be a candidate for the Standard Opera repertory, and certainly will never become an operatic “warhorse”. The second part will compare the […]

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