Lunch with ‘Cesca

Lunch with ‘Cesca
As one of the world’s leading opera directors Francesca Zambello’s career has taken her around the globe, jetting to such illustrious houses as La Scala, Covenant Garden and the Metropolitan Opera.  But as the new artistic director of Glimmerglass Opera, she’s been spending much of the fall driving herself around the Northeast, talking up the company with potential patrons and friends, from the Finger Lakes in New York...
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Opera review: “Damnation of Faust” (Berlioz/Lepage), Met 11/17/09

Opera review: “Damnation of Faust” (Berlioz/Lepage), Met 11/17/09
Last Tuesday night in New York I was the guest at a lovely little dinner party at the home of Denes Striny.  He’s a tenor and voice teacher and later that evening his most famous student, soprano Lauren Flanigan, would be starring in a revival of Hugo Weisgall’s “Esther” at the New York City Opera.  We’ve become friends because we are both former students of Michael Cordovana, a retired assistant conductor from...
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Theater Review: Robert Lepage’s “Lipsynch” at BAM 10/11/09

Theater Review: Robert Lepage’s “Lipsynch” at BAM 10/11/09
Despite its name, “Lipsynch” is not a drag show.   It’s the latest large scale theater piece from the inventive Canadian writer and director Robert Lepage.  Best characterized as a play, the piece begins and ends with one character singing lengthy excerpts from Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.” As much as I’ve loved that slow and lush music and its popular 1992 recording by Dawn Upshaw,...
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Basil Twist’s wings, webs and strings

“Striking frogs and getting fairies ready!” It’s the first rehearsal for act one, scene one of “Sleeping Beauty,” and Basil Twist is telling the frogs how high to hop (and when to “strike,” or leave the stage) and the winged fairies how to glide through the air with grace. A crew of 12 young puppeteers does its best to make the creatures respond. Twist and his company have come to...
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Francesca Zambello, Standing up to armies, singers, waiters

Picture the multitude of soldiers, horses and weapons that populated the recent blockbuster film “Troy.” Add in myriad satyrs, nymphs and fauns plus a score of ego-driven opera singers. Then squeeze them all onto a stage for four hours and you’ll begin to grasp the job of Francesca Zambello, who directed “Les Troyens” last year at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Zambello is an opera director. In other...
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