Aria’s “Divagain”

On June 9 and 10, Aria Women’s Choir, led by Dr. Sean Boulware, presented the second concert in their “Diva” series, “Divagain,” at the New Wharf Theatre in Monterey. The show consisted of heart-felt and entertaining renditions of songs from musicals such as Hello Dolly, Funny Girl, Into The Woods, Annie, Rent, Mame, Waitress, West Side Story, The Fantastiks, A Chorus Line, and 9 to 5 The Musical, among others. Many of the numbers were lightly choreographed, and the singers were bedecked in eye-catching sparkle and/or sequin dresses. In a contrast other choral concerts, the highly orchestrated accompaniment was canned. Throughout the concert, some of the singers used sheet music while others used iPads, though some had their music memorized. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Opera


La Traviata – San Jose Opera

On April 14 San Jose Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ opened on a lively scene: a party in a French salon held by Violetta, a stunning courtesan. Immediately drawing you in, Amanda Kingston returned to San Jose Opera with a bang. ‘The Drinking Song’ delighted the audience young and old alike, making the audience immediately comfortable. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Opera


The Flying Dutchman at San Jose Opera

Directed by Brad Dalton and conducted by Joseph Marcheso, Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” has sailed into Opera San Jose. Utilizing a large, Wagnerian orchestra, with no fewer than five French horns and three trombones, this opera truly knocks you over when it begins. A huge wave moving towards you, the rolling melodies in the string section hit you like a wall of sound. The leitmotifs associating musical themes with individuals or concepts are all introduced in the overture and appear throughout. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Opera


Lamplighter’s Production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers

I am always amazed at how fresh William S. Gilbert’s humor continues to be in this day and age. Even though it was written over one hundred years ago, the writing in “The Gondoliers” is always delightful and at times hysterically funny. This was made abundantly clear in the current Lamplighters production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s twelfth operetta, which I had the good fortune to see this past Sunday afternoon at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral, Opera, Vocal ensemble


Puccini’s La Rondine at Opera San Jose

Giacomo Puccini

The road not taken: Puccini’s “La Rondine,”(The Swallow) runs through November 26th at Opera San Jose. Puccini was a master at weaving a tragic story with his haunting arias of sadness and longing, and his ‘La Rondine’ is no different.’The Swallow,’ takes place in France and is the impassioned love story of Magda, a mistress of her keeper Rambaldo, who sings of love before money with her poet friend, Prunier as a newcomer, Ruggero, arrives at Rambaldo’s salon. Later that night, in a move to disguise herself, Magda goes out on the town dressed as a commoner and finds Ruggero at the same venue. After dancing, they see the maid with Prunier and they try to hide. Ruggero is whisked away and Magda, Prunier and the maid toast to love as Rambaldo arrives at the same nightclub. Magda declares her love for another and refuses to come home, so Rambaldo retreats. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Opera, Romantic Era