Showing posts from July, 2013

Verismo? È Vero: Reviewing Puccini's La fanciulla del West at the Castleton Festival

It has certainly been shocking to see more live opera in a week living in Charlottesville, Virginia than in three holiday seasons and three summers in Toronto, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in North America. (I should note that overall I saw more classical music performances and other cultural elements in Toronto than I have so far in Charlottesville.)

After Wednesday's La bohème with the Ash Lawn Opera Company, I had the opportunity to drive about an hour and twenty minutes north of Charlottesville, edging in on the Washington, D.C. suburbs, to Castleton, Virginia, where the Castleton Festival is held. The festival is a project of esteemed conductor Lorin Maazel, who actually personally conducted the performance I attended. That performance was of Puccini's La fanciulla del West. Fanciulla is an opera about which I had heard anecdotes: it's one of Plácido Domingo's favorites, it has material Andrew Lloyd Webber may have plagiarized for the theme of "The Mu…

New Look!

The blog was looking a little dated and haphazard. I decided to update it to one of the more modern dynamic templates and to give it a richer feel. I hope the new look improves the experience of viewing the blog. I am certainly open to any comments!

Ash Lawn Opera: A Straightforward, Enchanting Bohème

There's something about the music of Puccini, and perhaps La bohème in particular, which naturally and yet almost manipulatively captures both a sense of place and also the fluttering emotions of humanity. Nowhere were these elements more apparent than at Ash Lawn Opera's bohème this past Wednesday, July 17th in Charlottesville, VA. Ash Lawn is a a small company, putting on just two shows in the summer (this year's second show is Carousel). Nonetheless, Ash Lawn sports a young artist program, an apprentice program, and seemingly robust successes in its performances.
While it's true that Ash Lawn chose (out of necessity due to the size of the Paramount Theatre) to essentially cut the orchestra in half, the piece maintained its artistic integrity. Generally strong principles, a functionally straightforward set and costume design updated to 1896 from the original 1840s time period, and strong conducting helped bring together a performance that focused on what matters: th…


Just wanted to say that I've been on a bit of a hiatus because 1. I've been working a new job and I want to make sure I'm making a good impression and all that and 2. I'm in a temporary apartment with a smaller tv and poor sound system, so I've been holding off on watching DVDS, etc., for a while.