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Music

All Around the Town

City Opera wisely revived its very pleasing production of Richard Strauss' odd but endearing "Intermezzo." In 1999, this Glimmerglass-derived Leon Major staging provided wonderful roles for Lauren Flanigan and John Hancock as the flamboyantly fighting Christine and Robert Storch (read "Pauline and Richard Strauss"). Comment

Ladies of Spain

Opera composers like to take their audiences to glamorous exotic places. Thanks to Verdi, Massenet, and Bizet, I’ve recently had a tour of Spain — through the eyes and ears of a true Italian and two Frenchmen. Comment

Friends & Enemies

When it comes to the holidays, my outlook has long been more Charles Addams than Charles Dickens, and I generally greet the announcement of a new “holiday entertainment” with an acerbic, “God save us, everyone.” Comment

Living The Dream

A man named John wakes from a coma to find himself center stage at the legendary East Village cabaret, Joe’s Pub. Terminally ill, with only one hour to live, he is granted his dying wish — to star in his own one-man show. Enamored of Fred and Ginger, but a total loser himself, he sings and dances until his hilarious death. Two caregivers and a pianist taking the form of a frontal lobe provide backup entertainment, desperately trying to control the chaos of this dark pink comedy. Comment

Fascinating Rhythm

"Ragtime” is a show about how the world changes and how, for the short time we are here, we either change with it, are changed by it, or are destroyed in the process. Comment

Verdian Ventures

When new in the spring of 1994, the handsome Met production of “Stiffelio” had two major musical assets that the interesting but uneven score needs — a fine conductor, James Levine, and a persuasive spinto tenor, Placido Domingo. Comment

Puccini’s Sopranos

Popular operas by popular composers are the lifeblood of opera companies. But in this vocally challenged era, they are often the hardest to cast. Puccini is currently the most popular composer of Italian opera, having edged out Verdi some time ago. Verdi voices have always been hard to find, but are Puccini voices becoming extinct, too? Comment

Carmen is a Cat

Bizet’s “Carmen” is musically a surefire entertainment machine with one great tune after another. Dramatically though, it is a minefield for the director and the protagonist. In avoiding familiar clichés, both directors and mezzos can be misled into foolish choices. Comment

Ah, Paree!

Whoever said Paris is a woman was certainly correct. Although bitterly cold and ridiculously expensive (a tiny can of Coke Zero went for the equivalent of $3 on the street), the City of Light this past holiday season retained its beauty, elegance, and charm –– strengths personified by its celebrations of three distinctive femmes. Comment

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