Jan. 7 Met (Live): La Traviata

The Met’s ‘La Traviata’ lean on glamour, rich in insight

Beyond the austere set and surreal visuals, Willy Decker’s controversial 2010 Met production probes deeply into the heroine’s psyche

By David Abrams

Willy Decker’s now five-year-old Met production of La Traviata, like the bottles of champagne uncorked during the bubbly Libiamo, appears to improve with age…

Jan. 9 Met (Live): Les Contes d’Hoffmann

A paucity of memorable stage moments in the Met’s ‘Tales of Hoffmann’

David Rubin reviews the final dress rehearsal of the reprise of the 2009 Bartlett Sher production and finds that the director lacks a strong point of view

By David Rubin

The first question to ask about any performance of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann is which version of the piece was performed. The opera was left unfinished at the composer’s death in 1880; there is no accepted critical edition…

Jan. 10 CNY Playhouse: Lend Me a Tenor

CNY Playhouse’s ‘Lend Me a Tenor’ keeps the laughs coming and the action going

Who knew a performance of Verdi’s ‘Otello’ could be this amusing?

By David Abrams

What can possibly be funny about Verdi’s Otello, the opera generally acknowledged to be the culmination of Italian tragic opera? Kenneth Ludwig believes he found the answer — and three Tony Awards say he’s on to something…

CD review: The Piano’s 12 Sides

Carter Pann’s ‘The Piano’s 12 Sides’ looks good from a dozen angles

The set of handsomely crafted character pieces proves a worthy showcase for Canadian pianist Joel Hastings

By David Abrams

The genesis of Carter Pann’s collection of character pieces in this album dates back to the summer of 2011, when Pann approached Joel Hastings — a pianist whom the composer has long admired — about writing a set of 12 solo works specifically tailored to the Canadian pianist’s talent set…

Dec. 5 Syracuse Stage: Hairspray

‘Hairspray’ paints a smile across the face that holds

There’s ‘real good’ singing and dancing in this ‘feel good’ co-production by Syracuse Stage and SU Drama

By Michael O’Connor

Love wins out against all odds in the Syracuse Stage-SU Drama co-production of the charming holiday spectacle, Hairspray — the delightful musical that tackles issues of race relations, class discrepancy and body image without becoming overbearing…

Nov. 22 American String Quartet

American String Quartet, now in its 39th season, sounds as fresh as ever

Pianist Anton Nel joins the celebrated chamber ensemble in a stunning performance of Schumann’s ‘Piano Quintet’

By David Abrams

I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite from the three works on Saturday’s Syracuse Friends of Chamber Music concert featuring the American String Quartet (ASQ). But one thing I know for certain: This performance ranks among the top half-dozen or so live chamber performances I’ve ever attended…

Nov. 22 Met simulcast: Il Barbiere di Siviglia

The Met’s nicely coiffed ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ a vocal delight, but the laughs don’t ‘cut it’

The comedic elements take a haircut in this revival of Rossini’s beloved opera buffa

By David Rubin

Bartlett Sher’s 2006 Metropolitan Opera production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia has been acclaimed for its wit, effervescence and a distinctive feature of the set: a passerelle…

Nov. 15 SU Drama: Stepping Out

SU Drama’s ‘Stepping Out’ is in-step with dance, out-of-step with drama

Blame Richard Harris, whose humorous play about amateur tap dancers suffers from a script with two left feet

By Michael O’Connor

There’s no shortage of spectacle in Stepping Out, Richard Harris’s 1984 comedy about amateur dancers looking to overcome their inhibitions by learning to tap dance at a shabby church hall in North London…

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…”

Oct. 29 NT Live: Frankenstein

NT Live’s ‘Frankenstein’ a monster in need of some tender loving care

It’s alive! That is to say, National Theatre Live

By Barbara Haas

The National Theatre’s sell-out hit Frankenstein is one of those productions that leaves a reviewer searching for fresh superlatives. “Brilliant,” “amazing,” “memorable” — it is all these things. If you missed the 2011 NT Live performances, you have another chance. It’s back, as they say, by popular demand…

Nov. 8 Symphoria Masterworks Series

Symphoria goes ‘all in’ for conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, reaches new artistic high

The orchestra’s impressive Masterworks program, anchored by Tchaikovsky’s cathartic Sixth Symphony, also showcased principal clarinetist Allan Kolsky

By David Abrams

If you think the glory days of symphonic music in this town perished along with the demise of the former Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, you must have missed Saturday’s Masterworks concert…

Nov. 1 Met simulcast: Carmen

The Met mounts a well sung but dramatically unconvincing ‘Carmen’

Should looks matter when casting the role of the iconic temptress for HD simulcast?

By David Abrams

Operagoers have long grown accustomed to sacrificing dramatic integrity for a rewarding musical experience. Joan Sutherland was in her ‘60s when she sang Gilda in scenes from Verdi’s Rigoletto at a Met Gala concert in 1987. Her singing brought the house down, though it’s unlikely that anyone in the theater believed this could be the title character’s teenage daughter…