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Richard Sasanow

Richard Sasanow Richard Sasanow has been BroadwayWorld.com's Opera Editor for more than five years, with interests covering contemporary works, standard repertoire and true rarities from every era. He is an interviewer of important musical figures on the current scene--from singers Diana Damrau, Peter Mattei, Stephanie Blythe, Angela Meade, Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, Javier Camarena and Christian Van Horn to Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts and icon Thea Musgrave, composers Ricky Ian Gordon, Laura Kaminsky and Iain Bell, librettist Mark Campbell, Kim Reed and Nicholas Wright, director Kevin Newbury and Tony-winning designer Christine Jones.

Earlier in his career, he interviewed such great singers as Birgit Nilsson and Martina Arroyo and worked on the first US tour of the Vienna State Opera, with Karl Bohm, Zubin Mehta and Leonard Bernstein, and the inaugural US tour of the Orchestre National de France, with Bernstein and Lorin Maazel.

Sasanow is also a long-time writer on art, music, food, travel and international business for publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Town & Country and Travel & Leisure, among many others.



MOST POPULAR ARTICLES

LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: Met's First BOHEME of the Season Had the Audience Where It Wanted It PhotoBWW Review: Met?s First BOHEME of the Season Had the Audience Where It Wanted It
Posted: Nov. 12, 2021


BWW Review: Gershwin's PORGY & BESS Returns to the Met with a Grand Bess in Angel Blu PhotoBWW Review: Gershwin?s PORGY & BESS Returns to the Met with a Grand Bess
Posted: Nov. 6, 2021


BWW Review: My Desert Island (and 92nd St. Y) All-Time Dream Team ? Brownlee, Spyres  PhotoAll-Rossini Concert by Brownlee and Spyres Left Heads Spinning from a Night of ?Barnburners?
Posted: Oct. 30, 2021


BWW Review: At the Met, EURYDICE Edges Out Orpheus for the Center of Attention in Pre PhotoBWW Review: At the Met, EURYDICE Edges Out Orpheus for the Center of Attention
Posted: Nov. 24, 2021


BWW Review: 'L'ORFEO' May Be the Title Role in Rossi's Opera but Euridice is the Star PhotoBWW Review: ?L?ORFEO? May Be the Title Role in Rossi?s Opera but Euridice is the Star at Juilliard
Posted: Nov. 18, 2021


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: David T. Little's Chilling Opera SOLDIER SONGS Is Reinvented for Opera Ph PhotoBWW Review: David T. Little?s Chilling Opera SOLDIER SONGS Is Reinvented for Opera Philadelphia Film
Posted: Jan. 24, 2021


BWW Review: Well, Hello, Jonas, It's So Nice to Have You Back Where You Belong (New Y PhotoBWW Review: Well, Hello, Jonas, It?s So Nice to Have You Back Where You Belong (New York, That Is)
Posted: Oct. 11, 2021


BWW Review: Radvanovsky Gets Better and Better, Beczala Shows Off His Slavic Roots in PhotoBWW Review: Radvanovsky Gets Better and Better, Beczala Shows Off His Roots in Live Met Concert
Posted: Jan. 25, 2021


BWW Reviews: Santa Fe's Back with a MIDSUMMER Treat and a LORD-ly Mishap PhotoSanta Fe?s Back with a MIDSUMMER Treat and a LORD-ly Mishap
Posted: Aug. 4, 2021


BWW Review: Met Concert Shows Netrebko's Got the Technique to Do Anything She Pleases PhotoBWW Review: Met Concert Shows Netrebko?s Got the Technique to Do Anything She Pleases
Posted: Feb. 7, 2021


BWW Review: Ups and Downs Mark Yoncheva's Daredevil Concert in Germany for Met Series PhotoBWW Review: Ups and Downs Mark Yoncheva?s Daredevil Concert in Germany for Met Series
Posted: Mar. 5, 2021


BWW Review: All Hail the Met's ?Wagnerians in Concert,? Live from Wiesbaden, Germany PhotoBWW Review: The Met Brought ?Wagnerians in Concert? Live from Wiesbaden, Germany on May 8
Posted: May. 9, 2021


BWW Review: At the Met, EURYDICE Edges Out Orpheus for the Center of Attention in Premiere
November 24, 2021

Talk about ‘spoiler alerts,’ there was a big one for me early in the opera, EURYDICE, by Matthew Aucoin to a libretto that he and Sarah Ruhl fashioned from her play of the same name, which had its Met premiere last night. Eurydice tells Orpheus “Don’t look at me,” which to me mirrored the scene at the end of the piece in the Underworld when Hades tells him that he can take her back to the land of the living if he doesn’t look back at her…which, of course, he does.

BWW Review: 'L'ORFEO' May Be the Title Role in Rossi's Opera but Euridice is the Star at Juilliard
November 18, 2021

In Rossi's L'ORFEO at Juilliard, but director Birnbaum explores the idea that “destiny happens to you whether you like it or not, and no matter how much humans try to have control over their environment and future.” Or, as the popular expression goes, “Man makes plans and God laughs.”

BWW Review: Met's First BOHEME of the Season Had the Audience Where It Wanted It
November 12, 2021

Every time I head to a performance of Puccini’s LA BOHEME, I can’t help but think of Bette Davis’s famous line from “All About Eve”: “I detest cheap sentiment.” But then I actually get there and, more likely than not, I feel genuinely moved, swept away by the mood that the composer and his librettists (Illica and Giacosa) have conceived through what seems like an endless array of gorgeous melodies in the Franco Zeffirelli production.

BWW Review: Gershwin's PORGY & BESS Returns to the Met with a Grand Bess in Angel Blue
November 6, 2021

There are so many things to like about the season’s revival of Gershwin’s PORGY & BESS, which was new in the 2019-2020 season, before Covid became the “song” that no one wanted to hear. PORGY on the other hand, is the music that everybody can take a liking to, with its fluid combination of opera, Broadway musical and versions of spirituals and Gullah folk music that nobody ever heard before. It has been best known for its songs, which have become “standards” in the Broadway songbook. The stylistic shifts in the complex, yearning, comic score are handled mightily by the Met’s game orchestra under David Robinson.

BWW Review: My Desert Island (and 92nd St. Y) All-Time Dream Team – Brownlee, Spyres and Rossini
October 30, 2021

Oh, sure, give us Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Laura Kaminsky, Kevin Puts, Terence Blanchard, Paul Moravec, Huang Ruo and all the other fabulous composers at work today. But let’s talk about Rossini--and it’s hard for anyone who attended the concert the other night at New York’s 92nd Street Y not to. With tenor Lawrence Brownlee, (bari)tenor Michael Spyres and pianist Myra Huang presenting us with a dizzying array of what Brownlee called “barnburner pieces, back to back,” there was not much more to do than stand up and scream for more.

BWW Review: Season's First TURANDOT Adds a Fourth Question - Is It Time to Retire Zeffirelli's Popular Production?
October 15, 2021

Nobody goes to see the Met’s TURANDOT for subtlety and, from that standpoint, the audience got what it paid for at the opera’s first performance of the season. That is, except, perhaps from soprano Christine Goerke in the title role, who gave a finely nuanced performance when the production didn’t get in her way (and a steely one when it was called for).

BWW Review: Well, Hello, Jonas, It's So Nice to Have You Back Where You Belong (New York, That Is)
October 11, 2021

The opening lines of Jonas Kaufmann’s lieder concert at Carnegie Hall Saturday night, weren’t exactly ones that fill the heart with joy: “My songs are filled with poison—why shouldn’t that be true? Into my budding manhood, you poured your poison through.” But to have Kaufmann back in New York was a wondrous thing. And he gave us plenty to be thankful for.

BWW Review: The Met's Short Version of BORIS is Good-Enough for Me
September 30, 2021

The Lady or the Tiger? In this case, both are Mussorgsky’s BORIS GODUNOV—just different versions of it. Which is the preferred one? (Or, more properly, “the preferred one of several,” including one that the composer’s friend, Rimsky Korsakov, fiddled with after his death.) The Met chose Mussorgsky's original, and shorter, version for its revival of the composer's most famous opera this season.

BWW Review: Blanchard's FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES Opens Met Season with Fireworks
September 28, 2021

It’s been a long 18 months since the last opera on the Met’s stage. The Terence Blanchard-Kasi Lemmons FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES roared into Lincoln Center to let the audience know what it has been missing.

BWW Review: This CARMEN's Ready for Her Close-up on Film in Atlanta
September 20, 2021

For one of the most popular operas in the traditional repertoire--ABC in the opera world means AIDA, BOHEME and CARMEN--the work by Bizet has had to have more lives than the proverbial cat to get there. The version, now called THE THREEPENNY CARMEN, by the Atlanta Opera’s General and Artistic Director and frequent stage director Tomer Zvulun--now available as a film with subtitles, from Zvulun and filmmaker Felipe Barral. It is current proof that opera doesn’t have to stand still like a statue in an art museum to show that it is alive and well and, this time around, living in Texas.

BWW Review: Nezet-Seguin and Met Forces Return to the Stage with Verdi REQUIEM as Tribute to 9/11
September 18, 2021

Though the Met’s season doesn’t technically start till the end of the month, the company started off with a pair of what French chefs might call “amuses bouches”—sort of tastebud teasers. The first was Mahler’s Second, which was done in the open air; the second was its first inside the hall:The Verdi Requiem, which was broadcast (and which I saw) live last Saturday on PBS.

BWW Reviews: Santa Fe's Back with a MIDSUMMER Treat and a LORD-ly Mishap
August 4, 2021

There are a number of parallels between the two operas I saw in Santa Fe (NM) this past weekend: The Benjamin Britten/Peter Pears treatment of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and the world premiere of the John Corigliano/Mark Adamo THE LORD OF CRIES. The first was, for me at least, an all-around, marvelous success, while the other was a disappointment.

BWW Review: Beethoven Rises from the Dead at Green-Wood Cemetery Thanks to Violinist Gil Shaham, The Knights and “Death of Classical”
June 29, 2021

Pre-Covid, to quote an old groaner, people were dying to get into Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery for the Angel’s Share concert series spearheaded by Andrew Ousley, producer of “Death of Classical.” The latest concert, on June 25, starred violinist Gil Shaham and The Knights ensemble in a sparkling 'pocket edition' of Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D.

BWW Review: Anything You Can Do, The Mezzos of NY Festival of Song's Gala Can Do Better
May 22, 2021

Any of the wonderful mezzos who appear on the NY Festival of Song’s “How About Those Mezzos!” gala could easily be called “a girl singer” --as in “the females who used to sing with the Big Bands in the ‘40s”--as well under their usual hats as opera singers. The proof: There wasn’t an aria to be heard on the program (which will be available on demand through the end of the month), co-hosted by NYFOS chief Steven Blier and mezzo Rebecca Jo Loeb, an up and comer to watch. (Blier also supplied the piano accompaniment on a half dozen entries.) They sang everything from Edith Piaf, Reynaldo Hahn and Alberto Ginastera to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Irving Berlin, all in styles that sounded little like anything you might hear at the Met, Covent Garden or the Wiener Staatsoper. There were songs in French, English, Brazilian and Spanish, with the singers at home in everything they sang

BWW Review: New Name, Same Competition as Met Council Awards Morph into Laffont Competition and Announce 2021 Winners
May 17, 2021

On Sunday afternoon, the winners of what had been the Met’s annual National Council Auditions now, the Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition (charmingly emceed by Ryan Speedo Green), were named. This year’s Fab Five were Korean soprano Hyoyoung Kim (the Birgit Nilsson Award), soprano Raven McMillon (the Faith P. Geier Award), tenor Duke Kim (the Dominique Laffont Award), mezzo Emily Treigle (the Alton E. Peters Award) and mezzo Emily Sierra (the Noreen Zimmerman Award).

BWW Review: All Hail the Met's “Wagnerians in Concert,” Live from Wiesbaden, Germany
May 9, 2021

With nary a “Ho-yo-to-ho” to be heard, the Met’s “Met Stars Live in Concert” series brought four eminent Wagnerians--sopranos Christine Goerke and Elza van den Heever, tenor Andreas Schager and baritone Michael Volle--together from the dazzlingly Baroque Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany, live on May 8. This “Wagnerians in Concert” will be available from the Met’s website until just before the witching hour on May 21.

BWW Review: Lyricist-Librettist Mark Campbell Brings His Vision of the World to NY Festival of Song
April 18, 2021

Whether he’s writing about soldiers in World War I (SILENT NIGHT with Kevin Puts) or immigrants landing on Ellis Island (A NATION OF OTHERS with Paul Moravec), setting a ‘penny dreadful’-inspired story (ELIZABETH CREE with Puts) or looking inside a mad genius of technology [THE (R)EVOLUTION OF STEVE JOBS with Mason Bates], Mark Campbell brings his unique vision of the world to whatever he does. He gave us an inkling of the depth and breadth of his skills in the concert for the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS)—heard first the other night on YouTube and available through May 15.

BWW Review: Ups and Downs Mark Yoncheva's Daredevil Concert in Germany for Met Series
March 5, 2021

If you need any convincing that a “simple” recital, with lots of breaks, isn’t easier for the performer than being in a full-fledged opera, you have only to look as far as Bulgarian soprano’ Sonya Yoncheva's concert--shown live from Germany on February 27 but still available on-demand from the Met’s website until March 12--to know that view is a fallacy. (And, of course, it’s a challenge for the accompanist as well, here, the well-schooled pianist Julien Quentin, who offered staunch support.)

BWW Review: Met Concert Shows Netrebko's Got the Technique to Do Anything She Pleases
February 7, 2021

I couldn’t help but admire Anna Netrebko’s taking on many of the pieces that comprised her concert from Vienna’s historic Spanish Riding School on February 6, which was part of the Met Stars Live in Concert. They may not have fit her voice to a tee but she almost made you think they did.

BWW Review: Radvanovsky Gets Better and Better, Beczala Shows Off His Slavic Roots in Latest “Met Stars Live” Concert
January 25, 2021

In the latest in the Met’s live, pay-per-view concert series from varied fascinating locales around the world, Radvanovsky boldly chose Verdi’s “Pace, pace” from LA FORZA DEL DESTINO as her “warm up”--a whopper of a piece under any circumstances--while Beczala went for the composer’s “Quando le sere al placido…” from LUISA MILLER to tune up his tonsils. The result gave us a good preview what lay ahead in the next 90 minutes.



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