Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.







Recently in Performances

Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg in San Francisco

Falstaff and Die Meistersinger are among the pinnacles if not the pinnacles of nineteenth century opera. Both operas are atypical of the composer and both operas are based on a Shakespeare play.

Le Nozze di Figaro, Manitoba Opera

To borrow from the great Bard himself: “the course of true love never did run smooth.”

Arizona Opera Presents Florencia in el Amazonas

Florencia in el Amazonas was the first Spanish-language opera to be commissioned by major United States opera houses.

Viva la Mamma!: A Fun Evening at POP

Gaetano Donizetti wrote a comedy or dramma giocoso called Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (The Conventions and Inconveniences of the Theater), which is also known by the shorter title, Viva La Mamma!.

LA Opera Norma: A Feast for the Ears

Vincenzo Bellini composed Norma to a libretto that Felice Romani had fashioned after Alexandre Soumet’s French play, Norma, ossia L'infanticidio (Norma, or The Infanticide).

Alban Berg’s Wozzeck at Lyric Opera of Chicago

In order to mount a successful production of Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck, first performed in 1925, the dramatic intensity and lyrical beauty of the score must become the focal point for participants.

Florilegium at Wigmore Hall

During this exploration of music from the Austro-German Baroque, Florilegium were joined by the baritone Roderick Williams in a programme of music which placed the music and career of J.S. Bach in the context of three older contemporaries: Franz Tunder (1614-67), Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1701) and Heinrich Biber (1644-1704).

Leoncavallo’s Zazà by Opera Rara

Charismatic charm, vivacious insouciance, fervent passion, dejected self-pity, blazing anger and stoic selflessness: Zazà — a chanteuse raised from the backstreets to the bright lights — is a walking compendium of emotions.

L'ospedale - an anonymous opera rediscovered

‘Stay away from doctors; they are bad for your health.’ This seems to be the central message of L’Ospedale - a one-hour opera by an unknown seventeenth-century composer, with a libretto by Antonio Abati which presents a satirical critique of the medical profession of the day and those who had the misfortune to need curative treatment for their physical and mental ills.

Šimon Voseček : Biedermann and the Arsonists

‘In these times of heightened security … we are listening, watching …’

René Pape, Joseph Calleja, Kristine Opolais, Boito Mefistofele, Munich

Arrigo Boito Mefistofele was broadcast livestream from the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich last night. What a spectacle !

Calixto Bieito’s The Force of Destiny

The monochrome palette of Picasso’s Guernica and the mural’s anti-war images of suffering dominate Calixto Bieito’s new production of Verdi’s The Force of Destiny for English National Opera.

Morgen und Abend — World Premiere, Royal Opera House

The world premiere of Morgen und Abend by Georg Friedrich Haas at the Royal Opera House, London — so conceptually unique and so unusual that its originality will confound many.

Company XIV Combines Classic and Chic in an Exquisite Cinderella

Company XIV’s production of Cinderella is New York City theater at its finest. With a nod to the court of Louis the XIV and the grandiosity of Lully’s opera theater, Company XIV manages to preserve elements of the French Baroque while remaining totally innovative, and never—in fact, not once for the entire two and a half hour show—falls prey to the predictable. Not one detail is left to chance in this finely manicured yet earthily raw production of Cinderella.

Monteverdi by The Sixteen at Wigmore Hall

This was a concert where immense satisfaction was derived equally from the quality of musicianship displayed and the coherence and resourcefulness of the programme presented. In 1610, Claudio Monteverdi published his Vespro della Beata Vergine for soloists, chorus, and orchestra.

Dialogues des Carmélites Revival at Dutch National Opera

If not timeless, Robert Carsen’s production of Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites is highly age-resistant.

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari: Le donne curiose

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was one of the Italian composers of the post-Puccini generation (which included Licinio Refice, Riccardo Zandonai, Umberto Giordano and Franco Leoni) who struggled to prolong the verismo tradition in the early years of the twentieth century.

Moby-Dick Surfaces in the City of Angels

On Saturday evening October 31, 2015, the Nantucket whaling ship Pequod journeyed to Los Angeles Opera and began its sixth voyage in the attempt to kill the elusive whale called Moby-Dick.

Great Scott at the Dallas Opera

Great Scott is a combination of a parody of bel canto opera and an operatic version of All About Eve. Beloved American diva Arden Scott (Joyce DiDonato), has discovered the score to a long-lost opera “Rosa Dolorosa, Figlia di Pompeii” and has become committed to getting the work revived as a vehicle for her. “Rosa Dolorosa” has grand musical moments and a hilariously absurd plot.

Schubert and Debussy at Wigmore Hall

The most recent instalment of the Wigmore Hall’s ambitious series, ‘Schubert: The Complete Songs’, was presented by soprano Lucy Crowe, pianist Malcolm Martineau and harpist Lucy Wakeford.



Krassimira Stoyanova
11 Dec 2010

La Bohème, New York

Perhaps the most unexpected occurrence of the evening was the malfunction of the Act I-Act II set change.

Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème

Mimi: Krassimira Stoyanova; Musetta: Ellie Dehn; Rodolfo: Joseph Calleja; Marcello: Fabio Capitanucci; Colline: Günther Groissböck; Schaunard: Dimitris Tiliakos. Metropolitan Opera. Conducted by Roberto Rizzi Brignoli. Performance of December 1.

Above: Krassimira Stoyanova


The Met threw in another intermission, but did not distribute free Champagne. Perhaps the Zeffirelli production is becoming arthritic, or did the donkey or the horse (it is Zeffirelli; you get both in his Act II) throw the sort of tantrum singers never risk nowadays? Alcindoro’s re-entrance with the shoes (Paul Plishka, as inevitably as the snow in Act III) has somehow got lost in the mayhem, and you are free to regret this if you like. I also missed Marcello’s “Crossing of the Red Sea” painting, which is supposed to be hanging outside the snowy inn in Act III.

For me, though, what made the whole thing worth seeing was Krassimira Stoyanova’s first Mimi in New York, especially the moment when, wandering around the boys’ studio, plainly never having seen such a place (Rodolfo is on the balcony telling his pals downstairs to get lost), takes up Marcello’s paintbrush, waving it in the air, unable to imagine what on earth it is. One is grateful for any spontaneity in this ancient staging.

Stoyanova is perhaps the world’s foremost lyric-spinto today, but the Met hardly takes her seriously as she is not a glamour girl. Mimi is her only assignment there this season, though New Yorkers can catch her internationally admired Desdemona when the Chicago Symphony performs Otello here in April. Her acting in Bohème’s impossibly cluttered attic is impeccable, though she has trouble getting around all the furniture (“Why don’t they burn a few of those picture frames instead of Rodolfo’s manuscript?” grumbles a friend) and is happier when there is merely snow to dodge in Act III. Her voice is of exceptional sweetness, kept deceptively small (it is not a small voice) when portraying the consumptive seamstress. On the first night of the run, there were a few mildly disconcerting moments of awkward pitch; I’d rather have heard her later in the run. The live broadcast from Vienna last fall was ideal, unearthly, recalling the young Freni.

Her Rodolfo was Joseph Calleja, a burly, bearded fellow with an easy smile and a smiling voice—marred for some hearers, perhaps, by an old-fashioned vibrato that reminded me of Alessandro Bonci. Fabio Capitanucci, who is actually stout, sang a perfect Marcello with an ingratiatingly suave baritone one is eager to hear again. Debutantes filled out the Bohemian quartet: Günther Groissböck (Colline) and Dimitris Tiliakos (Schaunard) revealed fine, well-produced, Met-sized voices if not yet much individuality of character. Ellie Dehn, who was so lovely in the Met’s Satyagraha, sang Musetta’s music well but acted like a village schoolmarm drafted at the last minute and against all inclination to play the vamp. She’s no vamp, and displayed no sexual magnetism at all. We’re not interested in your petticoats, dear—where’s that ankle?

Roberto Rizzi Brignoli did not seem ideally in sync with his singers; one recalls more bounce in the scenes of Bohemian shenanigans. This group of newcomers seemed not quite ready to let themselves go. But the Met orchestra can play this music to perfection in its sleep, and did not sound asleep at all.

John Yohalem

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):