James Sohre

Nov. 21 LA Opera: Norma

Angela Meade (center) in the title role of LA Opera's production of Bellini's "Norma" (photo: Ken Howard)

LA Opera’s ‘Norma’ delights with superlative vocal efforts, insightful staging

Angela Meade, as the iconic Druid priestess, conquers Los Angeles

By James Sohre

If you were to take all the sopranos in our collective memory who conquered the Everest role of Norma and pooled all their strengths with none of the weaknesses, the result may come close to Angela Meade’s towering performance at Los Angeles Opera…

Sep. 23 SF Opera: Sweeney Todd

Brian Mulligan (top) as Sweeney Todd and Wayne Tigges as Judge Turpin in Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" (photo: Cory Weaver)

Amplification problems aside, SF Opera’s ‘Sweeney Todd’ a bloody good show

Stephanie Blythe’s role as Mrs. Lovett was a triumph — eclipsing all others and recalling the great Angela Lansbury

By James Sohre
Contributing writer

It is hard to argue with the boisterous, enthusiastic reception given San Francisco Opera’s Sweeney Todd. But let me try…

Sep. 22 SF Opera: Luisa Miller

Soprano Leah Crocetto as Luisa Miller and members of the San Francisco Opera Chorus in Verdi's "Luisa Miller" (photo: Cory Weaver)

Rare Verdi, well done: SF Opera stages ‘Louisa Miller’

The singing was good all around, but the set was largely disappointing

By James Sohre
Contributing writer

Luisa Miller lurks in the shadows of Verdi’s major accomplishments.

Periodically the piece shows up in a successful reading such as this one at San Francisco Opera and makes us wonder why this engaging music doesn’t gain wider acceptance…

Aug. 17 Santa Fe Opera: Cold Mountain

Deborah Nansteel (left, standing) as Lucinda, and Nathan Gunn (far right) as Inman in Santa Fe Opera's premiere production of "Cold Mountain" (photo by Ken Howard)

Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere of ‘Cold Mountain’ a treasure

Jennifer Higdon, in her first operatic effort, delivers Charles Frazier’s Civil War tale in a bright and original voice

By James Sohre
Contributing writer

Long a champion of new works, the venerable Santa Fe Opera has scored a resounding success with the world premiere of Cold Mountain.

Librettist Gene Scheer has transformed Charles Frazier’s novel into a riveting, richly detailed lyric drama that remains faithful to the author’s important plot points and themes, while composer Jennifer Higdon provides a restless score of pulsating confrontations, ever shifting musical moods, and almost unerring musical commentary and emotional support…

July 1 SF Opera: Les Troyens

The Trojan Horse in the San Francisco Opera production of "Les Troyens" (photo: Cory Weaver)

SF Opera’s ‘Les Troyens’ a vocal and visual tour de force

Looking a gift horse in the mouth has never revealed so much

By James Sohre
Contributing writer

From the moment Donald Runnicles gave the downbeat at San Francisco Opera’s Les Troyens, I knew I was in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience…

June 30 SF Opera: Two Women

Anna Caterina Antonacci (Cesira) with the Allied troops in the San Francisco Opera production of "Two Women" (photo: Cory Weaver)

‘Two Women’ a powerful story full of operatic potential — and music that doesn’t quite match

Marco Tutino’s accessible musical score, steeped in pleasant tunes and harmonies, is largely too tame to confront the violence and grittiness of the story

By James Sohre
Contributing writer

With an intentional nod to verismo opera, its lush melodies and orchestral effects, San Francisco Opera successfully presented the world premiere of composer Marco Tutino’s Two Women…

2014 Wexford Festival Opera

Wexford Festival Opera, champion of ‘unjustly neglected’ works, draws opera lovers worldwide

Reviewer James Sohre recaps 63rd season of the international festival, which has now been designated ‘Ireland’s National Opera House’

By James Sohre
Contributing writer

Before a note sounded at Wexford Festival Opera, the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht got the season off to a rousing start by announcing that the venue had been designated henceforth as “Ireland’s National Opera House…”