A shaky premiere for San Francisco Opera: John Adams and Peter Sellars’ “Girls of the Golden West”

In the first act of Girls of the Golden West a huge gold frame descends to the stage and a black-and-white engraving of wilderness appears in its center. A stagehand in black turns a crank moving the spools that wind the picture along until another engraving replaces it. This special effect, the moving panorama, was popular in the mid 19th-century. And it’s not a bad metaphor for John Adams and Peter Sellars’ new opera Girls of the Golden West. For although the moving...

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William Kentridge’s stunning turn through time

“There is a utopian perfection in inverting time,” explains South African artist William Kentridge. Time and how film changes time and the material world, which he as a visual artist is deeply connected to, are a focus of his drawings and videos. He sees the ability to use film to reverse and control time as connected to “the longing to undo things we’ve done.” Although he may not have achieved this form of utopianism in his performance opera, Refuse the Hour, presented by...

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Girls just want to have jewels: San Francisco Opera’s “Manon”

San Francisco Opera has opened a sleek new production of Jules Massenet’s Manon with colorful balloons, vivid costumes and elegantly conducted music. Perhaps a cautionary tale on the dangers of leaving naive and ethically ambiguous young women unchaperoned in the courtyard of an inn while traveling, the opera follows its greedy heroine from her escape from convent life into the arms of the ardent Chevalier des Grieux. And then through a high life of champagne, jewels, lovers and ennui...

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“La Traviata” at SF Opera

Troubling and timeless… There is a timelessness to great music. That timeless quality was immediately apparent at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, where Giuseppe Verdi’s teasing textures, joyous dances, divine progressions and hair-raising harmonies were faithfully rendered by the SF Opera Orchestra under the baton of Nicola Luisotti. In creating that great music Verdi mirrored...

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A cozy Così at Opera San José

The delectable charm of Mozart ... The second title for the Mozart–Da Ponte opera Così Fan Tutte is La scola degli amanti, or The school for lovers. It could just have easily been...

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