CD review: Excelsior (Fifth House Ensemble)

CD cover design by DM Stith

‘Excelsior’ contemporary music CD release pleases the ear, ignites the imagination

Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble shines in its Cedille Records debut

By David Abrams

Searching for the occasional gem in a program dedicated to contemporary music is much like scratching your way through an instant lottery ticket. Initially, hopes for a winner are high, with some six or so chances to win. But it hardly comes as a shock when you discover you’ve come up empty.

July 28 Glimmerglass Festival: Ariadne in Naxos

L to R: Gerard Michael D'Emilio as Truffaldino, Carlton Ford as Harlequin, Rachele Gilmore as Zerbinetta, Christine Goerke as Ariadne, Andrew Penning as Scaramuccio and Brian Ross Yeakley as Brighella in The Glimmerglass Festival's 2014 production of Strauss' "Ariadne in Naxos." Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass’s ‘Ariadne in Naxos’ a powerful showcase for a powerhouse soprano

Christine Goerke raises the roof in this unforgettable aural experience

By David Rubin

Paradise, at least for lovers of Richard Strauss and the female voice, came to the Glimmerglass Festival this week with its production of Ariadne in Naxos.

In the title role, soprano Christine Goerke (the festival’s Artist in Residence this season) delivered a majestic performance that combined a resonant, rolling sound with incredible range, flexibility and control…

July 18 Glimmerglass Festival: Carousel

L to R: Ryan McKinny as Billy Bigelow, Carolina M. Villaraos as Louise and Andrew Harper as Carnival Boy in The Glimmerglass Festival's 2014 production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel." Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass’s ‘Carousel’ goes ‘round and ‘round on the strength of its music, not visuals

McKinny crafts a formidable anti-hero in Billy Bigelow, and the cast of Glimmerglass Young Artists does justice to Rogers & Hammerstein’s beloved musical

By David Abrams

At first glance, setting Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár’s dark and depressing drama Liliom as musical theater hardly seems like a winning formula for making a hit on Broadway…

July 20 Glimmerglass Opera: An American Tragedy

Christian Bowers as Clyde Griffiths in The Glimmerglass Festival's new production of Tobias Picker's "An American Tragedy." Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass’s ‘An American Tragedy’ an American triumph

The opera’s three major roles, all played by Glimmerglass Young Artists, reveal the depth of talent within the company’s apprenticeship program

By David Rubin

The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York continued its 2014 season of operas that highlight Men Behaving Badly (Very Badly)…

July 13 Glimmerglass Opera: Madame Butterfly

Yunah Lee as Cio-Cio-San and Dinyar Vania as Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton in The Glimmerglass Festival's 2014 production of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly." Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass’s ‘Madame Butterfly’ finds harmony in the clashing of cultures

The two female leads dominate the singing in Francesca Zambello’s insightfully staged production

By David Abrams

Staging Puccini’s beloved Madame Butterfly has its challenges. The storyline unfolds slowly, at times painfully so, and there’s precious little onstage action to sustain interest throughout the three-act drama…

April 26 Met simulcast: Cosi fan tutte

Met Opera Cosi fan tutte

The Met’s ‘Cosi fan tutte’ offers pleasures — and problems

Perhaps Lorenzo Da Ponte’s tale about two engaged women unable to remain faithful for 24 hours is deserving of a fresh spin

By David Rubin

Is there any way to present Mozart’s sexist, misogynistic farce Cosi fan tutte to an audience in 2014? I am beginning to think not…