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Category: Opera

“It’s a Wonderful Life”—Comfortable Music with a Moral, at S.F. Opera

“It’s a Wonderful Life”—Comfortable Music with a Moral, at S.F. Opera

Jake Heggie’s Feel-Good Opera Packs a Lesson by Jeff Dunn Fine singing, a thin adaptation, tune-starved but inoffensive music, and an awkward set characterize San Francisco Opera’s third delivery from composer Jake Heggie, after successes with Dead Man Walking in 2000 and Moby-Dick in 2012. True to Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is ready to jump off a bridge because his savings and loan bank is about to fail. Bailey’s friends and loved ones…

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“Tosca”—A Beautifully Sung but Unimaginative New Production, from S.F. Opera

“Tosca”—A Beautifully Sung but Unimaginative New Production, from S.F. Opera

Puccini’s Great Opera Has a Dazzling Star, Fresh Sets & Costumes by Pamela Feinsilber Critics attend a popular opera such as “Tosca” many, many times over the years. We saw it here just four years ago, with the amazing Lianna Haroutounian in the lead and tenor Brian Jagde as her beloved, Cavaradossi. This is my third “Tosca,” so it was impossible to see even the new San Francisco Opera production with fresh eyes. It was, though, the first-ever opera for…

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“Cavalleria Rusticana” & “Pagliacci”—Stellar Singing and Acting from S.F. Opera

“Cavalleria Rusticana” & “Pagliacci”—Stellar Singing and Acting from S.F. Opera

Director Jose Maria Condemi’s Chivalrous Rustics & Sad Clowns Come Alive by Pamela Feinsilber It’s not often that San Francisco audiences are offered the most popular “double bill” in opera: “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni and “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo. While these one-act operas are sometimes presented separately, they’ve been together since both composers (Leoncavallo wrote his libretto, as well) entered a new-talent competition in Rome in 1890. Now there’s a fine new production of “Cav/Pag,” in the aficionados’ shorthand,…

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“Das Rheingold” Gleams at San Francisco Opera

“Das Rheingold” Gleams at San Francisco Opera

Wagner’s Epic Ring Cycle Gets a Glorious Start by Pamela Feinsilber If you were near San Francisco City Hall after dark on June 12, you saw the facade and dome illuminated in vibrant red and gold. That’s because it was opening night across the street at the opera house, where—as the fire-evoking posters proclaim—San Francisco Opera is presenting the four linked operas of Richard Wagner’s masterwork, The Ring of the Nibelung, starting with “Das Rheingold.” Each opera can be enjoyed…

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