Articles by Philip Hodge

Don Giovanni Review – An old favorite in modern dress

Don Giovanni Review – An old favorite in modern dress The Commendatore's portrait comes to life, dramatically rips the frame apart and strides forth; demons appear; Giovanni is dragged offstage to Hell - I’ve never seen a more dramatic ending to Don Giovanni

Götterdämmerung MetHD Review – Conclusion of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle

Götterdämmerung MetHD Review – Conclusion of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle It seemed like old home week as I settled into my comfortable seat at CinéArts @ Palo Alto Square Theatre to begin six hours of immersion in wonderful music and cosmic story-telling

LA TRAVIATA PART 1 – A Thrilling Rendition of an Old Favorite

LA   TRAVIATA PART 1 – A Thrilling Rendition of an Old Favorite Words fail me when I try to describe Rebecca Davis; she wasn’t acting an operatic role; she was channeling the famous Parisian courtesan, Marie Duplessis.

TRITTICO Review – Three Operas for the Price of One

TRITTICO Review – Three Operas for the Price of One My second complete Il Trittico reinforced two of my opinions. One, that Puccini’s three one-acts are even better taken as a whole, and two, that an ROH production with Conductor Antonio Pappano and Stage Director Richard Jones will be first rate.

The Enchanted Island Review – A Baroque Pastiche

The Enchanted Island Review – A Baroque Pastiche I wish the author would extend “Baroque” to include early Mozart, and remind Neptune about his subject Calabanetta, a sweet-voiced young woman with a deformed body but a beautiful spirit who lives in the far reaches of his kingdom

2011_Review - and A look ahead to 2012

2011_Review - and A look ahead to 2012 I reviewed sixteen “Ten Best” opera productions in 2011 – no problem. I’ll just use a hexidecimal definition of “Ten”.

Hansel & Gretel Preview – Déjà vu all over again

Hansel & Gretel Preview – Déjà vu all over again I had some free time last week and figured to get a head start on my review by writing part of it before seeing the opera; then after seeing it, I would revise as appropriate -- things didn’t work out that way

Hansel & Gretel Review – Bah! Humbug!

Hansel & Gretel Review – Bah! Humbug! I don't enjoy being Scrooge at this time of year, but "Bah! Humbug!" are the only words to thoroughly convey my reaction to the 2007-8 Met HD Live production of Hansel and Gretel

Faust Review – A Morality Play for the Atomic Age

Faust Review – A Morality Play for the Atomic Age Marina Poplavskaya's acting and singing is superb; In Act II her Marguerite is young, pretty, vibrant, popular; less than 9 months later, she is an old woman about to give birth - friendless, exhausted, utterly miserable

Rodelinda Review – Fleming’s Handle on Handel

Rodelinda Review – Fleming’s Handle on Handel Fleming WAS Rodelinda. Her expressive face was showing every emotion that Rodelinda was feeling. Thanks to the close-up camera, at one point I could see a tear in her eye

Satyagraha Review – Philip Glass’ monumental tribute to Gandhi

Satyagraha Review – Philip Glass’ monumental tribute to Gandhi Philip Glass, his librettist Constance DeJong, and the entire creative staff of the MetHD production have presented the essence of Gandhi’s 21 years in South Africa in a most unusual fashion – the complete opposite of verismo.

Siegfried MetHD Review – A Star is Born

Siegfried MetHD Review – A Star is Born The same voice box produced the powerful German singing by Siegfried on stage and the delightful Texas drawl of Jay Hunter Morris in the interviews - I could easily believe him to be a reincarnation of Wagner’s famous 17 year old hero.

Tosca ROH Review – A Five-* Production

Tosca ROH Review – A Five-* Production The divine words of the choir and Scarpia’s profane words are each sung to entirely appropriate music. When the two are perfectly balanced, the resulting dissonance creates an almost unbearable musical tension.

Carmen SFO Review – America’s favorite opera

Carmen SFO Review – America’s favorite opera What a pair of characters - Carmen: flamboyant, sexy, strong-willed, domineering – yet potentially vulnerable; what an opportunity for a mezzo; tenor Don José: naïve country bumpkin at the start – insane murderer at the end.

LA VOIX HUMAINE Review – Opera San Jose presents an emotional block-buster

LA VOIX HUMAINE Review – Opera San Jose presents an emotional block-buster The conductor raises his arms - our pulses quicken in anticipation - an opera is about to start - but wait! - the conductor’s arms do not descend; they remain upraised, poised, ready for action. The curtain rises in utter silence

Xerxes Review – SFO’s Handle on Handel

Xerxes Review – SFO’s Handle on Handel Handel wrote the parts of Xerxes and his brother to be played by castrati who were a respected musical class in 18th century Europe but are now essentially extinct due to changing mores and natural selection

Don Giovanni MetHD Review – Second Production this Season

Don Giovanni MetHD Review – Second Production this Season The advance program said that James Levine would be the conductor; the program at the theater door listed Fabio Luisi

Adriana Lecouvreur Review – an ROH production of a rarely performed opera

Adriana Lecouvreur Review – an ROH production of a rarely performed opera Cilia’s Adriana Lecouvreur sounded vaguely familiar to me, so I assumed it would be classical opera, but I knew absolutely nothing about the composer or the plot. I was looking forward to being surprised - and what a wonderful surprise it was

Don Giovanni SFO Review – First of Four Productions this Season

Don Giovanni SFO Review – First of Four Productions this Season Despite all of his past successes and his unbounded self-confidence, Don Giovanni is totally unfulfilled during the twenty-four hours of his life presented on stage - and it’s not for lack of trying

Anna Bolena Review – Anna: Netrebko IS Bolena

Anna Bolena Review – Anna: Netrebko IS Bolena For a moment Anna Netrebko did not reply. She had been sitting relaxed with a smiling face. Her body straightened and stiffened. Her smile was replaced by a firm straight mouth. She said, simply, “I remind myself that I am a Queen.”

Samson and Delilah Review – An exciting opening for West Bay Opera’s 56th Season

Samson and Delilah Review – An exciting opening for West Bay Opera’s 56th Season The air was electric when José Luis Moscovich, General Director (and Conductor) of West Bay Opera appeared on stage to welcome the audience to WBO's fifty-sixth season

Lucrezia Borgia Review – San Francisco Opera presents one of Donizetti’s less well known bel canto operas

Lucrezia Borgia Review – San Francisco Opera presents one of Donizetti’s less well known bel canto operas There is little correlation between the historical Lucrezia Borgia and the title character of the opera Lucrezia Borgia - and even less between the real Lucrezia's bastard son Giovanni and opera Lucrezia’s long-lost son Gennaro

Heart of a Soldier Review – The World Premier of a Gripping BiOpera

Heart of a Soldier Review – The World Premier of a Gripping BiOpera Heart of a Soldier is different from most operas. The Story is a biography of a current person, and it is by far the driving force of the opera; music, acting, scenery, lighting, etc. are important only in-so-far-as they enhance the story telling

Idomeneo Review– 12th Century BCA Greek Story – 18th Century Mozart Music – 21st Century American Staging

Idomeneo Review– 12th Century BCA Greek Story – 18th Century Mozart Music – 21st Century American Staging I had never seen or heard Idomeneo before, but I knew I’d like it – I mean, it’s Mozart so what else do you need to know?

H.M.S. Pinafore Review – A Delightful Bit of Operatic Froth

H.M.S. Pinafore Review – A Delightful Bit of Operatic Froth H.M.S. Pinafore hove into Mountain View this past weekend and it was immediately obvious that the “sober men and true” who sailed her were not exaggerating a bit when they sang, “Our saucy ship’s a beauty.”

Macbeth Review – an ROH production of Verdi’s darkest opera

 Macbeth Review – an ROH production of Verdi’s darkest opera Macbeth is a total villain with no redeeming qualities - not even consistency. Immediately after killing King Duncan he wishes the deed undone. But then he commits more murders to cover up the first one

Curtains Review – Who Says that Broadway’s Golden Age is Long Gone?

Curtains Review  –  Who Says that Broadway’s Golden Age is Long Gone? Imagine, if you will, Agatha Christie, Groucho Marx, Noel Coward, and Richard Rogers all locked in a small room and told they can’t come out until they’ve written a new musical - Curtains"

The Music Man Review – A Wonderful Rendition of one of the Top American Musical Theater Classics

The Music Man Review – A Wonderful Rendition of one of the Top American Musical Theater Classics The Broadway By the Bay’s production of Meredith Willson’s "The Music Man" is nothing but Cool

Marriage of Figaro Review – Servants outsmart masters; women outsmart men; what is the world coming to?

Marriage of Figaro Review – Servants outsmart masters; women outsmart men; what is the world coming to? Pocket Opera's production of Mozarts' "Marriage of Figaro" with many stars who were familiar to me, was a delight

SFO RING Review – PART IV, WHY WAS THIS PERFORMANCE SO GREAT?

SFO RING Review – PART IV, WHY WAS THIS PERFORMANCE SO GREAT? Why was the San Francisco Opera production of Wagner's "Ring Cycle" so great? Read on and find out

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