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


DIVA — Aria Women’s Chorus

Sean Boulware

On Sunday, June 11, at First Presbyterian Church in Monterey, Aria Women’s Chorus presented DIVA – a program of Broadway’s best with some classic light opera thrown in as sprinkles on the top. We heard many fine voices of all ages performing with featured soloists in most numbers. Under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware these women present the true joy of singing in an ensemble. Overall on a scale of 1 – 10, this afternoon’s presentation was a 12! Handling twenty-three songs with their myriad musical personalities was no mean feat.

Michelle Galindo continues as the consummate pianist on all of the arrangements that were not prerecorded. Framing this delicious mélange was “Shine” from the musical Billy Elliot, and “And All That Jazz” from Chicago. Billy is the young son of a Welsh coal miner who winds up being a dancer – definitely unlikely under the circumstances. This number really set the stage for all the glitz that followed. “And All That Jazz” perfectly tied up the afternoon’s selections with a musical bang. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Choral, Opera, Piano