Lydia Mayne holds an undergraduate degree in vocal performance and a master of arts in musicology from the University of Utah. She is currently studying the history and aesthetics of opera at Stanford University.
The San Francisco Opera premiere of Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince was a great success Friday night at Zellerbach Hall. Anyone who has seen the drawings in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella, Le Petit Prince, will immediately recognize it as the inspiration for Francesca Zambello’s whimsical production, jointly presentated by San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances, and conducted by Sara Jobin. The action takes place on a stage of gold and azure framed by a circular frontispiece out of which appear stars, lamps, baobabs, and water, just to name a few.
Opera San José’s production of Mozart's Magic Flute, seen Saturday, got me thinking about the issue of time in opera. Not the minutes that we, the audience, spend in our seats, but how time is portrayed on the stage and how the singers as actors must accommodate that flow.
It took a while — until after intermission, in fact — but the San Francisco Lyric Opera's new production of La Bohème, unveiled on Friday night at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason, finally gelled into a strong performance. The singers eventually gave themselves over to Puccini’s score, but the first half had some rough moments as everyone was trying too hard to “act.”