Mozart — The Abduction from the Seraglio

From September, 15-30, Opera San Jose is presenting Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio. First performed in 1782 this opera is still amusing audiences today. When the curtain opened, set designer, Steven C. Kemp’s attention to detail was immediately apparent: a large Turkish palace painted over every inch in intricate paintings, landscaped greenery and fig trees. Decked out in a pith helmet, the lead tenor, Matthew Grills, made his company debut in quite a lively, comical way. Running around hiding from the guards outside sultan Pasha Selim’s palace, he runs into Osim, played by Ashraf Sewailam. Both singers are perfectly suited for these comedic roles and their rapport was wonderful. One slight drawback to the quick banter was that the singers tended to get slightly ahead of the orchestra in the fast recitative sections. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Opera


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – “A Night at the Opera”

Tenor Thomas Cooley, Baritone John Brancy & Maestro Paul Goodwin

We had a lot of fun last night at the Tuesday Main Concert — “A Night at the Opera.” In the spirit of the Marx Brothers, there was some slapstick silliness, such as in scenes from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte  and Leonard Bernsten’s Trouble in Tahiti, but it was balanced by moments of more serious drama in arias from Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Tannhaüser. Our affable host for the evening was David Gordon, whose perspective on all things vocal, choral and operatic is, as always, astonishing in its ability to enlighten and entertain us (and he had edited the super titles which made our opera experience all that more comprehensible and enjoyable). We also had an opportunity to hear the Festival Orchestra, directed by Maestro Paul Goodwin, the Festival Chorale and Chorus, and, most importantly, the vocal stars of the evening, sopranos Mhairi Lawson and Linda Lee Jones, mezzos Meg Bragle and Virginia Warnken Kelsey, baritones John Brancy, Jonathon Woody and Tim Krol. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Opera, Orchestral


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