Mozart’s Idomeneo tells a tale of love, sacrifice, shipwreck, and war. Add to that a gorgeous score, stunning costumes, and good singing, and you should have all of the ingredients of a successful opera. The opening night of San Francisco Opera’s production, on Wednesday, however, was less than satisfying.
The Midsummer Mozart Festival's first foray into opera, a production of The Abduction from the Seraglio at San Jose's California Theater, was highly successful in most respects. The singers ranged from capable to excellent, with one standout.
There are always questions when small opera companies take on large works. Will a pared-down ensemble achieve the same effects of a full orchestra? Will the singers manage roles written for bigger voices? Will it work? In Berkeley Opera’s case, the answer to these questions is usually a resounding yes.
Sometimes, a story is so universal that it can be updated without affecting the integrity of the drama. San Francisco Opera’s deeply problematic production of Verdi’s Macbeth, which debuted last Wednesday, proved to be one of the exceptions.
The world of music has several types of 22-year-old composers — brash, confident ones; shy, talented ones; and painfully insecure ones who look to the past and worry that they were born several generations too late.
Last Thursday, the Carmel Bach Festival presented works by each of these types.
It is fitting that San Francisco Opera's new production of Iphigénie en Tauride (Iphigenia in Tauris) feels extremely contemporary. Indeed, Gluck's work, which premiered in 1779, would have sounded revolutionary in its time.
An ensemble as well-established and famous as Chanticleer is likely to inspire imitators. Its sound, which was once unique, has spawned countless men's a cappella choral groups around the country. Friday evening's Clerestory concert, however, proved that this group is not an imitator of the Chanticleer style but rather a champion of it.
Pocket Opera's concert-version of Handel's Flavio, presented on Saturday at the Florence Gould Theater in the Legion of Honor, combined humor, drama, and musicianship, all signatures of Donald Pippin's company.