Articles by Philip Hodge

The Magic Flute Review – Pocket Opera is Magic

The Magic Flute Review –  Pocket Opera is Magic I have lived on the peninsula for 21 years, and have subscribed to Pocket Opera for all of that time. Many of the performers keep coming back, and I always delight when I look at the program and see more and more names that I recognize and remember

Madama Butterfly Review – Opera San Jose’s Provocative Take on Puccini’s Classic Favorite

Madama Butterfly Review  –   Opera San Jose’s Provocative Take on Puccini’s Classic Favorite Conductor David Rohrbaugh's handling of the extended quiet musical passage at the end of Act I was exquisite; the audience paid him the ultimate tribute: they held their applause until the last quiet note had been played and he had lowered his arms

Elixir of Love Review – West Bay Opera produces another gem

Elixir of Love Review – West Bay Opera produces another gem I am amazed all over again at the overall excellence of this small company. Every ingredient outstanding, and they all combine and are so compatible with each other that the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts

Barber of Seville SFO Review – Some new Twists on an old Favorite

Barber of Seville SFO Review – Some new Twists on an old Favorite Rossini’s The Barber of Seville has music so basic, characters so stock, and plot so simple that a director can put almost anything on stage without creating any blatant inconsistencies.

GALA Review – West Bay Opera starts a tradition?

GALA Review – West Bay Opera starts a tradition? Do you wonder that I rave about WBOpera’s casts? When sopranos of this quality were only understudies during the regular season!

Hansel & Gretel Review – An Afternoon of Sheer Delight

Hansel & Gretel Review  –   An Afternoon of Sheer Delight The two children are lost, it’s getting dark, and there are mysterious noises in the woods

Irene Review – Revival of the 1919 hit Musical

Irene Review – Revival of the 1919 hit Musical What does the Opera Nut do on November 1, 2013, when faced with a two-week vacation after seeing 6 operas (and reviewing 4 of them) in October?

Flying Dutchman SFO Review – Who says Wagner is Inaccessible?

Flying Dutchman SFO Review –  Who says Wagner is Inaccessible? Be careful what you wish for - you may get it

Falstaff SFO Review – A first rate Treatment with a strong Bass

Falstaff SFO Review – A first rate Treatment with a strong Bass When you start with a plot by Shakespeare, music by Verdi, libretto by Boito, an orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti, and title role sung by Bryn Terfel, it is not surprising that the result is a wonderful evening of entertainment

Tosca Review – West Bay Opera’s #1 Performance of a #1 Opera

Tosca Review – West Bay Opera’s #1 Performance of a #1 Opera Tosca’s poignant Vissi d’arte, Mario’s lovely O dolce mani, and Scarpia’s doom-threatening motif are competing for attention in my head

Eugene Onegin MetHD Review – Anna Netrebko IS Tatiana

Eugene Onegin MetHD Review – Anna Netrebko IS Tatiana Anna Netrebko is in a class by herself; every muscle of her face and body, every note of her voice tell you exactly what she is thinking and feeling; it almost seems indecent to expose a teen-age girl’s innermost being to a world-wide audience

Dolores Claiborne Review – Grim but Fascinating

Dolores Claiborne Review – Grim but Fascinating The role of Dolores Claiborne was played by Patricia Racette, but you can’t fool me; The woman who walked into her dressing room may well have been Patricia Racette, but the woman who walked on stage Sunday afternoon was Dolores Claiborne

Mefistofele Review, Part II, the Production – San Francisco Opera does full justice to Boito’s masterpiece

Mefistofele Review, Part II, the Production – San Francisco Opera does full justice to Boito’s masterpiece I won’t go far as Faust: “If I would haply say to the moment flying, ‘Stay thee, for thou art blissful’ Ah! let me die then, And let hell there engulf me!” but the 4 hours in the War memorial Theatre with Boito's Mefistofeles were indeed Blissful

Mefistofele Review – Boito’s Opera is truly epic

Mefistofele Review – Boito’s Opera is truly epic I walk into the War Memorial Opera House, I show my ticket, the usher hands me a program, I glance at the cover, and WOW!

Falstaff OSJ Review – ‘Tis the Season to be Merry (Wives of Windsor, that is)

Falstaff OSJ Review  –   ‘Tis the Season to be Merry (Wives of Windsor, that is) To the world, Falstaff is elderly, obese, ridiculous – an object of scorn – a butt for amusement; he is totally oblivious of all of this and regards himself a handsome, dashing nobleman in the prime of life – completely irresistible to all women

Iolanthe Review – A Gilbert and Sullivan Masterpiece

Iolanthe Review  – A Gilbert and Sullivan Masterpiece No other operetta can match the procession of haughty peers as they first march on to the spirited "Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes! Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses! Blow the trumpets, bang the brasses! Tantantara! Tzing! Boom!"

Cyrano Review – Victor Herbert’s Operetta with a new Libretto by Alyce Mott

Cyrano Review – Victor Herbert’s Operetta with a new Libretto by Alyce Mott One of the most beautiful and moving musical performances I have ever seen. - - I had to write a review; it was the only outlet for all of the awe and wonder in me as I left the theater

The Merry Wives of Windsor Review – Pocket Opera’s Production Had Everyone Laughing

The Merry Wives of Windsor  Review – Pocket Opera’s Production Had Everyone Laughing I doubt that any other performance anywhere has produced wives merrier than Marcelle Dronkers and Meghan Dibble as Mistresses Ford and Page, respectively

Mary Magdalene Review – A Tender Reverent Setting for the Recently Discovered Gospel

Mary Magdalene Review – A Tender Reverent Setting for the Recently Discovered Gospel Tell them. Tell them what we did. Tell them what we tried for. Tell them what we gave. Tell them. Tell them that we laughed. Tell them we were foolish. Tell them we were brave

Così Fan Tutte Review – A big company takes on a small opera

Così Fan Tutte Review – A big company takes on a small opera As an actress, there’s no question – Susannah Biller’s Despina stole the show

Tales of Hoffmann Review – San Francisco Opera does in differently

Tales of Hoffmann Review – San Francisco Opera does in differently "We have created a space that comes from the imagination of the poet. A world both real and dreamlike, and a device that moves us from one story to another" - Laurent Pelly, Director

Otello Review – West Bay Opera does Moor with Less

Otello Review – West Bay Opera does Moor with Less How do you begin to write a review when you want to rave about all aspects of the production? I can’t think of anything better than the fundamental instructions for writing an essay: start at the beginning – continue until the end – stop

Miss Saigon Review – An old story newly told

Miss Saigon Review – An old story newly told Puccini and Schonberg have very different ideas about music!

Two Handles on Handel – Orlando (Pocket Opera) and Giulio Cesare (MetHD)

Two Handles on Handel – Orlando (Pocket Opera) and Giulio Cesare (MetHD) Cleopatra's costume ranged from towel and soapsuds to formal gay-nineties ball gown to a “little black dress”; - - - as Orlando rides forth the banner streaming behind him reads "Make War not Love."

Orpheus Review – Pocket Opera Captures Essence of Offenbach’s Farce

Orpheus  Review – Pocket Opera Captures Essence of Offenbach’s Farce Jacques Offenbach cast his irreverent eye and ear on Gluck’s opera and the original myth and mused, “Hmm. I wonder what the real story was like?”

Schicchi Review – Part Two of Opera San José’s double bill from Puccini’s Il Trittico

Schicchi Review  –   Part Two of Opera San José’s double bill from Puccini’s Il Trittico To most of Florence Gianni Schicchi appears to he hard-hearted and selfish, but to his daughter he’s a pussycat

Angelica Review – Part One of Opera San José’s double bill from Puccini’s Il Trittico

Angelica Review  –   Part One of Opera San José’s double bill from Puccini’s Il Trittico The baby boy was snatched from her immediately upon birth and Angelica was sent immediately to a convent to spend the rest of her life in repentance, never to be spoken of or communicated with again

Sorcerer Review – Lamplighters excel in seldom-heard early Gilbert and Sullivan opera

Sorcerer Review  – Lamplighters excel in seldom-heard early Gilbert and Sullivan opera A man falls in love with the first unmarried woman he sees – and that might not be the same woman he was courting a mere 12 hours before; it is not surprising that in Act II All Hell breaks loose

Pocket Opera’s Don Giovanni Review – A Masterpiece

Pocket Opera’s Don Giovanni Review – A Masterpiece Donald Pippin goes on to admit that Don Giovanni can be utterly charming, and concludes with an explicit warning to the women in the audience that they stay here at their own peril

Lucia Review – And a Special Extra Treat at West Bay Opera

Lucia  Review – And a  Special Extra Treat at West Bay Opera When Lucia (Rochelle Bard) came on for her curtain call, the applause level doubled and nearly everyone was standing

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