From Atlanta Opera

From the May Issue of Opera News ONLINE

In honor of the Verdi bicentennial, Atlanta Opera presented La Traviata at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on March 2. The Opéra de Montréal production, last seen at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center in 2005, was revived and reassembled this season, but much has happened to the company while these handsome Claude Girard–Bernard Uzan sets were hibernating. General director Dennis Hanthorn arrived in Atlanta, implemented strategies that put AO in the black and secured a more glamorous and suitable venue for its productions at the Cobb Centre. Hanthorn resigned abruptly in August 2012, after eight years at the…

Atlanta Opera General Director Resigns

Dennis Hanthorn, Zurich General Director of the Atlanta Opera since 2004, resigned from his position last week.  From my vantage point the opera has had many successes under his leadership – including a strategic move to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre –  and has mounted some very fine productions.  Highlights for me?  Orfeo with David Daniels, La Cenerentola with Jennifer Larmore, and a fabulous production of Cold Sassy Tree with Carlisle Floyd in the audience.

The Golden Ticket Review – Opera News May 2012 Issue

ATLANTA Atlanta Opera 3/3/12 Atlanta Opera courageously took a chance on Peter Ash’s new opera The Golden Ticket this season in an attempt to draw younger audiences to the genre. Based on Roald Dahl’s literary classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with a libretto by Dahl biographer Donald Sturrock, The Golden Ticket is a comic opera that might not have made it to the stage had it not been for the bolstering it received from significant voices like Felicity Dahl, the author’s widow, and James Robinson, artistic director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Ash devised his Britten-inspired score for…

Saturday Night at the Opera

Peter Ash’s new opera came to town this past weekend.  Here Veruca Salt (mezzo-soprano Abigail Nims) is about to be discarded for being a “bad nut” by a mob of voluptuous Turkish squirrels.

OPERA NEWS – Lucia di Lammermoor

OPERA NEWS – Lucia di Lammermoor. My latest review in the February issue of Opera News. Lucia di Lammermoor ATLANTA Atlanta Opera 11/12/11 Stage director Tomer Tvulun brought his signature cinematic vision to Atlanta Opera’s 2011–12 season opener, Lucia di Lammermoor (seen Nov. 12), working in a style reminiscent of his 2009 AO production of Der Fliegende Holländer. Lighting designer Robert Wierzel and projection designer Ruppert Bohle gave us spooky, oversized shadows, craggy trees and a foreboding ambiance from the start, abetted by imposing stone walls and tombstones, designed by Erhard Rom and borrowed from Cleveland Opera. However, it was…

The 24-Hour Opera Project

Can an inspired opera be created in only 24 hours? This year the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner highlighted films from the 48 Hour Film Project, an idea conceived by two D.C. filmmakers, Mark Ruppert and Liz Langston, ten years ago.  The mission was to promote film making and filmmakers, but the ancillary result was to build communities of locally creative people and to foster that spirit of creativity. The 48 Hour Film Project assigns willing filmmakers the genre, characters, prop, and a line of dialogue and says ‘go!’  The 24-Hour Opera Project, sponsored by the Atlanta Opera, pairs composers and lyricists and gives…

Top Atlanta Music Picks for the New Year

In January I’ll join ranks with Jimmy Paulk and Mark Gresham, writing classical music news and reviews for the ArtsCriticATL website:   Vocal music offerings for the first quarter of 2012 look promising.  The Atlanta Opera will produce Peter Ash’s new opera The Golden Ticket (March 3-11),  Susan Graham comes to town to sing a recital with Malcolm Martineau at Spivey Hall (February 5),  and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Symphony #2 “Resurrection” with soloists Nicole Cabell and Kelley O’Connor (January 26, 28).

Opera Education for Kids

Director of Education at the Atlanta Opera Emmalee Iden has created a study guide for Atlanta music educators to go along with the AO premiere of a new children’s opera called Rabbit Tales.  My 2008 review of AO’s Hansel & Gretel for Opera News is excerpted in association with a number of potential lessons that educators could implement within the classroom.  (link below)  Lessons included in the Opera Guide for Rabbit Tales are designed to correlate with Georgia Standards for elementary grades in English Language Arts & Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts, and Health. Those from my generation will remember Br’er Rabbit from the Disney…

Atlanta Opera Opens 2011-12 Season with Lucia

AO opens its 2011-12 season with Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor on November 12.    I’ll be reviewing this production for Opera News.  Georgia Jarman, who starred as the three Heroines in English National Opera’s February production of Tales of Hoffman, will sing the title role.

Rabbit Tales

The premiere of the AO commission Rabbit Tales will kick off National Opera Week at the Wren’s Nest on October 29th.