A convincing Rigoletto

Oliver Mears’ production of Verdi’s Rigoletto recorded at Covent Garden in 2021 looks and feels like the work of a British theatre director.  There’s nothing particularly weird about it.  The Personenregie is careful and precise and the emphasis is on text and story telling.  The opera house element perhaps comes into play in the rather impressive visuals including an extremely dramatic storm scene.

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The Fatal Gaze

The Fatal Gaze is, in a way, a follow up to last year’s UoT Opera show Last Days in that it consists of a staged performance of pieces of vocal music to a theme.  This time the theme is the dangers of seeing or being seen and there’s quite a lot to unpack.  The music all lies on an arc from Monteverdi to Gluck and the stories are all taken from classical mythology or thee Bible with some commentary from more modern figures.

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Porgy and Bess at SFO

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess has a really interesting history.  It was always intended as a “grand opera”; pretty much the first American one.  It was written for the Metropolitan Opera but not performed there until 1985 and between it’s Boston debut in 1935 and a production in Houston in 1976 it was virtually always performed in a much cut edition designed for Broadway.  In fact by the time of the Houston production it was being done much at all; being seen as dated and dealing with issues of race that were particularly highly charged in Civil Rights Era America.  It took a bold, young Deneral Manager, David Gockley, and a Gershwin enthusiast, John DeMain, to recreate an opera rather than a musical.  It’s been following them round ever since and so, not very surprisingly, Gockley, now in charge in San Francisco, chose to stage it there last year in a new production by Francesca Zambello with DeMain conducting.

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