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Home > Author Archives: Michael Anthonio

Author Archives: Michael Anthonio

Miss me blond

Miss me blond

Miss me blond The San Francisco Opera continues their 2019-20 Season with another opera based on a literary work, Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd, which opened Saturday September 7. Based on an unfinished Herman Melville’s novella and written to a libretto by novelist E. M. Forster and long-time collaborator Eric Crozier, Billy Budd was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the 1951 Festival of Britain, and it was premiered at the Royal Opera House on ... Read More »

Get this Pati started

Get this Pati started

Get this Pati started Politics and romance were entangled in a spectacular fashion at the War Memorial Opera House last Friday, September 6, when San Francisco Opera opened their 97th season with Charles Gounod’s 1867 opera Roméo et Juliette. It was not just because the warring households of the Capulets and the Montagues were decked in red and blue respectively (mirroring the colors associated with both Parties), but primarily also because of “Impeach Trump now!” ... Read More »

O for a Muse of fire

O for a Muse of fire

O for a Muse of fire Saturday August 17 the Merola Opera Program wrapped up its annual Summer Festival with the Merola Grand Finale concert at the War Memorial Opera House, showcasing the talents of the 29 young Merolini artists. Now in its sixth season, the prestigious opera training program keeps going strong to offer coaching and training in pretty much all aspects of opera, all free of charge. The Grand Finale, in particular, turns ... Read More »

Dream a little dream of me

Dream a little dream of me

Dream a little dream of me “Who are you? Who do you want to be?” The search for one’s identity is explored in American composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s brand new opera If I Were You, which received its world premiere at Herbst Theatre on Thursday August 1. The opera marked a milestone for Merola Opera Program, one of the oldest and most prestigious opera training programs in the United States, as it represented their ... Read More »

Under the silver lake

Under the silver lake

Under the silver lake “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” went the introduction to the 1940s radio program The Shadow, an apt description for the San Francisco Opera’s second-ever production of Czech composer Antonín Dvorák’s haunting opera Rusalka, that opened at War Memorial Opera House in a spectacular fashion Sunday June 16—after 24 years! Dvorák wrote Rusalka, his penultimate opera, at the age of 60, with just three years left to ... Read More »

Touch me in the mourning

Touch me in the mourning

Touch me in the mourning “How far should we give way to grief? How far dare we, without disaster?” Such heavy, contemplative words were uttered wisely by the main character of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s youthful Die tote Stadt. The opera opened at Teatro alla Scala Milan for the first time in a glamorous production by English director Graham Vick on Tuesday, May 28. Austrian-born, American composer Korngold lived an interesting, if rather unpredictable, life. A child ... Read More »

Pilot program

Pilot program

Pilot program Just a couple of weeks ago I reported here on a performance of Handel’s Orlando from Theater an der Wien, a musically glorious show marred by, in my opinion, Claus Guth’s incoherent staging. Since I made a reference to Harry Fehr’s production there and both performances are still fresh in my mind, please allow me the indulgence of using that review as reference point in reviewing San Francisco Opera’s new production of Orlando (the first ... Read More »

Words get in the way

Words get in the way

Words get in the way In war-heavy Munich late 1942, 70-something-year-old Richard Strauss expanded the theme of a little opera of Salieri (Prima la musica e poi le parole) into “A Conversation Piece of Music” as he premiered his final opera Capriccio, conducted by its librettist Clemens Krauss. Teatro Real waited for 70-something years to present the opera for the first time, as they did beautifully on May 27 in an exquisite production by Christof Loy. Strauss ... Read More »

Nice nice baby

Nice nice baby

Nice nice baby “Love is a wild bird that no one can tame” sang the title character of Georges Bizet’s perennial classic opera Carmen that opened San Francisco Opera’s Summer season Wednesday at the War Memorial. Unfortunately, “tame” also seemed to be the appropriate adjective to describe the performance that night. Just three short years ago (also a summer opener), SF Opera brought in a production of Carmen by director, Calixto Bieit the very first US production of any of ... Read More »

Tears in heaven

Tears in heaven

Tears in heaven There is a deep sense of culmination and finality when we discuss the last works of the great Masters.  Mozart turned spiritual and prepared his own (unfinished) Requiem; while Schubert manifested his melancholic state in mind in the gloomy song-cycle Winterreise. Mahler thought he escaped the curse of the ninth with his elegiac Symphony No. 9, which conductor Otto Klemperer claimed to be “not only his last but also his greatest achievement.” That ... Read More »

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