Bryn Terfel, Silver Tongued, at Cal Performances

“You’re a fabulous audience,” commented bass-baritone Bryn Terfel midway through the first half of his Thursday night recital at Cal Performances. Don’t they all say that? But walking forward to the edge of the stage, he added, “You can breathe, you know.” The audience laughed, and took a breath. That Terfel, a man born to perform, could so clearly feel the rapt attention of his audience and then mirror it back in a humorous and...

Continue reading

‘Carmen’ at the Met

The Forces of Nature and Sexy Singers Conductor Emmanuel Villaume opened the New York Met’s production of Carmen, urging the orchestra on in an insistent and intensely performed overture, the brass section splashy and percussive against ominous strings. Throughout the evening, the orchestra’s interpretation of Bizet’s rhythmically shifting and melodically alluring music sustained this Carmen, teasing out its sensuality and rawness, its bravura and...

Continue reading

New Contemporary Opera at Thick House

Love takes a spill Friday night saw the premiere of two works of opera with video backdrops at Thick House, San Francisco’s avant garde Potrero Hill theater. Clarinetist and composer Peter Josheff wrote “Francesca’s Complaint” to a libretto by Bay Area poet Jaime Robles. This fully-staged aria from Inferno, their opera-in-progress, featured soprano Eliza O’Malley accompanied by pianist Alexis Aldrich. Combining expressive movement with powerful singing,...

Continue reading