Richard Sasanow

Richard Sasanow Richard Sasanow has been BroadwayWorld.com's Opera Editor for more than four 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 and Angela Meade to Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts, librettist Mark Campbell and director Kevin Newbury.

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: Jonas Kaufmann Returns to Carnegie and the Audience RejoicesJonas Kaufmann Returns to Carnegie and the Audience Rejoices
Posted: Jan. 24, 2018


BWW Review: ELISIR's Latest Duo Charms the Pants Off Met AudienceReview: ELISIR's Latest Duo Charms the Pants Off Met Audience
Posted: Jan. 28, 2018


BWW Review: No Heart on the Sleeve of WRITTEN ON SKIN at Opera PhiladelphiaNo Heart on the Sleeve of WRITTEN ON SKIN at Opera Philadelphia
Posted: Feb. 13, 2018


BWW Review: NY City Opera's Moving, Lively CRUZAR and 'What is an Opera?'NY City Opera's Moving, Lively CRUZAR and 'What is an Opera?'
Posted: Jan. 31, 2018


BWW Review: No 'Ho-yo-to-ho' but Van Zweden Brings God-like WALKURE to NY Phil with Melton and O'NeillVan Zweden Brings God-like WALKURE to NY Phil with Melton, O'Neill
Posted: Feb. 19, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Interview: Kaminsky, Campbell and Reed Are AS ONE, Showing More Lives than a Cat with Opening at New Orleans OperaBWW Interview: Kaminsky, Campbell and Reed Are AS ONE, at New Orleans Opera
Posted: May. 31, 2017


BWW Review: There's 'GOLD in Them Thar Hills as NY Philharmonic and Gilbert Take on Wagner's GodsReview: There's 'GOLD as NY Philharmonic and Gilbert Take on Wagner's Gods
Posted: Jun. 5, 2017


BWW Preview: ELIZABETH CREE is a Tale from a New York Crypt Headed for Philadelphia Opera FestivalBWW Preview: ELIZABETH CREE is a Tale from a New York Crypt Headed for Philadelphia Opera Festival
Posted: Jun. 5, 2017


BWW Review: Mozart's GARDENER Is On Site Opera's SECRET WeaponBWW Review: Mozart's GARDENER Is On Site Opera's SECRET Weapon
Posted: May. 15, 2017


BWW Roundup: It's Almost 'In with the New' But Not Before Some Last 'Hurrahs!' for Opera's 2017BWW Roundup: Some Last 'Hurrahs!' for Opera's 2017
Posted: Dec. 27, 2017


BWW Review: THREE WAY Makes Sex Last Too Long at BAMBWW Review: THREE WAY Makes Sex Last Too Long at BAM
Posted: Jun. 19, 2017


BWW Review: La Divina ANTONACCI Takes New York (Again) for City Opera Recital at Zankel HallBWW Review: La Divina ANTONACCI Takes New York (Again) for City Opera Recital at Zankel Hall
February 22, 2018

When soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci walked on stage at Zankel Hall for her recital the other night, I thought I had wandered into an Antonioni movie, with a ravishing diva (usually played by Monica Vitti) about to perform for a rapt audience. Then she opened her mouth and sang the first of a series of songs by Debussy (texts by Verlaine) and I knew I was in the right place: heaven.

BWW Review: Meade Fearlessly Outruns Dazzlingly Difficult SEMIRAMIDE at the MetBWW Review: Meade Fearlessly Outruns Dazzlingly Difficult SEMIRAMIDE at the Met
February 21, 2018

A lot of risk, fast rotations in perfect unison, a precarious balance point. No, I'm not talking about doing a twizzle in Olympic ice-dancing--but starring in SEMIRAMIDE by Gioacchino Rossini, a man who believed there was no such thing as too many runs, roulades and high notes. Neither did soprano Angela Meade, who fearlessly stars in the Met's current run of this dazzlingly difficult piece.

BWW Review: No 'Ho-yo-to-ho' but Van Zweden Brings God-like WALKURE to NY Phil with Melton and O'NeillBWW Review: No 'Ho-yo-to-ho' but Van Zweden Brings God-like WALKURE to NY Phil with Melton and O'Neill
February 19, 2018

Wagner aplenty, Wagner galore. After starting the week off with the Met's PARSIFAL under the exciting Nezet-Seguin, I ended it with another Wagner, DIE WALKURE, in a sweeping account of Act I from the New York Philharmonic under its music director designate, Jaap van Zweden.

BWW Review: Parsing PARSIFAL at the Met, with an Impressive Cast under Nezet-SeguinBWW Review: Parsing PARSIFAL at the Met, with an Impressive Cast under Nezet-Seguin
February 15, 2018

Richard Wagner's last opera, PARSIFAL, is a tough nut to crack. With its highly religious overtones, lack of action and incredible length (it ran about 5 hours 40 minutes the other night), it's not exactly a 'light night' at the opera--even if for those of us who consider opera to be a 'light night'. Still, with the right cast and conductor, it can be transcendent. The Met's new revival came pretty close to getting us there.

BWW Review: No Heart on the Sleeve of WRITTEN ON SKIN at Opera PhiladelphiaBWW Review: No Heart on the Sleeve of WRITTEN ON SKIN at Opera Philadelphia
February 13, 2018

Opera Philadelphia's production of the George Benjamin-Martin Crimp WRITTEN ON SKIN is another feather in the cap of the company that's quickly becoming the one to watch in the world of contemporary opera.

BWW Review: NY City Opera's Moving, Lively CRUZAR and 'What is an Opera?'BWW Review: NY City Opera's Moving, Lively CRUZAR and 'What is an Opera?'
January 31, 2018

In many areas of the arts in New York, January is a quiet month. But in the opera world, the last few weeks certainly have been jumping. It has also been a fine time for asking 'What is an Opera?' For me, January started with Prototype 2018's ACQUANETTA and ended this past weekend--with many in between--with New York City Opera's 'first mariachi opera,' CRUZAR LA CARA DE LA LUNA (TO CROSS THE FACE OF THE MOON).

BWW News: Hannigan Shows She's 'Got Rhythm' in Grammy Win for CRAZY GIRL CRAZYBWW News: Hannigan Shows She's 'Got Rhythm' in Grammy Win for CRAZY GIRL CRAZY
January 29, 2018

Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan took the Grammy's Best Classical Solo Vocal Album Sunday night with her mash-up of George Gershwin, Alban Berg and Luciano Berio, CRAZY GIRL CRAZY--not only singing but conducting the Ludwig Orchestra.

BWW Review: ELISIR's Latest Duo Charms the Pants Off Met AudienceBWW Review: ELISIR's Latest Duo Charms the Pants Off Met Audience
January 28, 2018

There have been starrier casts heading up Donizetti's L'ELISIR D'AMORE at the Met--put the opera's name in the NY Times search engine and the first one that shows up is the debut of the famed tenor Tito Schipa in 1932, with bass Ezio Pinza as the quack snake-oil salesman Dulcamara. But this year's principals, soprano Pretty Yende and tenor Matthew Polenzani, gave more than enough pleasure (and then some) to send the audience out cheering.

BWW Review: Jonas Kaufmann Returns to Carnegie and the Audience RejoicesBWW Review: Jonas Kaufmann Returns to Carnegie and the Audience Rejoices
January 24, 2018

After a string of cancellations--including the Met's new TOSCA--tenor Jonas Kaufmann made a triumphant return to New York last Saturday at Carnegie Hall, in a recital with his frequent collaborator Helmut Deutsch. Of course, he could have been singing the telephone book and this audience would have lapped it up; instead, he performed Schubert's famed song cycle for tenor and piano, DIE SCHOENE MUELLERIN (THE MILLER'S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER).

BWW Review: Little Ms. ECHO How Do You Do? Very Well, at Prototype 2018BWW Review: Little Ms. ECHO How Do You Do? Very Well, at Prototype 2018
January 21, 2018

By the time you read this, another year's edition of PROTOTYPE--New York's two-week festival of new opera-theatre/music-theatre works different from most anything you've ever seen before--will be gone and it was another to be grateful for. The last event on my list was a totally original and stunning, immersive piece called THE ECHO DRIFT, with a scintillating score composed by Mikael Karlsson, and a brilliant environmental production by Elle Kunnos de Voss in their first collaboration.

BWW Review: TRAVELERS in a Strange Land Called Washington, D.C., in NY Debut at Prototype 2018BWW Review: TRAVELERS in a Strange Land Called Washington, D.C., in NY Debut at Prototype 2018
January 15, 2018

Even if it were just for its history lesson about the lavender scare of the '50s-- the witch hunt and the mass firings of gay men and women from the federal government during the McCarthy era--FELLOW TRAVELERS by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce would be well worth seeing. But there's so much more to the opera, which had its local debut at the New York PROTOTYPE 2018 this past weekend, directed by Kevin Newbury, at the Gerald Lynch Theatre--including some of the most gorgeous opera music in recent memory.

BWW Review: Caught in the Net of Prototype's ACQUANETTA at the Gelsey Kirkland Arts CenterBWW Review: Caught in the Net of Prototype's ACQUANETTA at the Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center
January 13, 2018

'Memories of Things Past'--'A la recherche du temps perdu' in Proust-speak--and very much in the past it was, for me at least, going in to ACQUANETTA, the piece that opened this year's iteration of the PROTOTYPE. Its name and purported subject--horror films--conjured up childhood memories for me. Musically and dramatically, however, ACQUANETTA--by Michael Gordon, composer (of 'Bang on a Can' fame), Deborah Artman, librettist (ditto)--was very much in the present and in a class of its own, seen January 10 at the Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center.

BWW Preview: The PROTOTYPE of a Very 21st-Century New Opera-Music Theatre Festival, January 9-20BWW Preview: The PROTOTYPE of a Very 21st-Century New Opera-Music Theatre Festival, January 9-20
January 9, 2018

With less than a week until the opening of New York's PROTOTYPE 2018, I was Skype-ing with the producers--no, not Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick--but Jecca Barry (of Beth Morrison Projects, BMP) and Kim Whitener (of HERE), who seem pretty calm. (Actually, they're two of four producers, the others being the eponymous Beth Morrison and Kristin Martin of HERE.) What's to be nervous about? After all they only have 8 new-opera/new-theatre productions (plus other events) opening between January 9th and 20th, including a couple of world premieres.

BWW Review: The Met's New TOSCA Tries for Beauty but DisappointsBWW Review: The Met's New TOSCA Tries for Beauty but Disappoints
January 5, 2018

The trials and tribulations of the Met's new take on Puccini's TOSCA have been well documented--with all three principals replaced along with two conductors--and it would be nice to be able to say that everything came out happily-ever-after. Alas. There's nothing wrong with the company's surprise-free new take on one of Italian opera's most famous works that a stronger director couldn't come in and cure.

BWW Roundup: It's Almost 'In with the New' But Not Before Some Last 'Hurrahs!' for Opera's 2017BWW Roundup: It's Almost 'In with the New' But Not Before Some Last 'Hurrahs!' for Opera's 2017
December 27, 2017

It's just about time to wish you all a happy 2018--but I'm not quite ready to put 2017 to rest. Though it won't go into the annals as one of the best years ever, there were quite enough performances and performers that made this year a winner for me, operatically speaking at least, in my corner of the world.

BWW Review: Sierra's the Winner, But Blythe Steals the 2017 Richard Tucker Gala at Carnegie HallBWW Review: Sierra's the Winner, But Blythe Steals the 2017 Richard Tucker Gala at Carnegie Hall
December 15, 2017

It was great that the 2017 Richard Tucker Gala was heard live on WQXR.org and on WQXR radio on Sunday, but those of us who were in Carnegie Hall had it much better. This year's winner, soprano Nadine Sierra, sounded wonderful (and looked ravishing, by the way) as she whipped through Verdi's 'Caro nome' (RIGOLETTO) and 'Ah, forse lui Sempre libera'), with secure high notes and thoughtful drama, and Bernstein-Sondheim's 'Tonight' (WEST SIDE STORY), paired with tenor Vittorio Grigolo. She's a charming, extremely gifted performer.

BWW Review: Deck the Halls with Handel's MESSIAH at Saint Thomas's in New YorkBWW Review: Deck the Halls with Handel's MESSIAH at Saint Thomas's in New York
December 8, 2017

Nothing says Christmas in New York like a performance of Handel's great sacred oratorio MESSIAH--okay, for some it's the windows at one of the big department stores--with some outings decidedly religious, like this week's pair of wonderful performances at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. Featuring the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, with the New York Baroque Incorporated ensemble and some terrific soloists under conductor Daniel Hyde (Saint Thomas's organist and music director), it was a grand start to the season.

BWW Review: Vive L'ENFANT! From Juilliard's Troops with Conductor Villaume at Alice Tully HallBWW Review: Vive L'ENFANT! From Juilliard's Troops with Conductor Villaume at Alice Tully Hall
December 7, 2017

The Juilliard Orchestra and Opera beat the Met to the punch this week, featuring French conductor Emmanuel Villaume in a superb concert of Ravel and Debussy, including a lovely performance of Ravel's short opera, L'ENFANT ET LES SORTILEGES, with its clever libretto by the French novelist, Colette. It took place just the night before he was announced to be taking on the premiere of the Met's new TOSCA--left empty when the opera company suspended its former music director James Levine after he was charged with sexual improprieties with minors.

BWW Review: New TROYENS Recording with DiDonato, Spyres and Lemieux is a Horse of a Different ColorBWW Review: New TROYENS Recording with DiDonato, Spyres and Lemieux is a Horse of a Different Color
December 6, 2017

Nothing beats sitting in the opera house for the thrill of hearing singers giving their all. But the new recording of Berlioz's LES TROYENS (THE TROJANS), conducted by John Nelson, comes pretty close. Taken from a couple of live concert performances in Strasbourg, France, at the Salle Erasme, with a cast headed by mezzo Joyce DiDonato as Dido (Didon, en francais), tenor Michael Spyres as Aeneas (Enee) and Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Cassandra (Cassandre) plus that famed Trojan horse--brings us all the chills and thrills we could want, short of being there.

BWW Review: The Met's Great Orchestra and Chorus Spark the Majestic Verdi REQUIEMBWW Review: The Met's Great Orchestra and Chorus Spark the Majestic Verdi REQUIEM
December 1, 2017

It was a fitting gesture that the Met dedicated this season's performances of Verdi's MESSA DA REQUIEM to the great baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who died on November 22 of brain cancer, at 55. The Russian Hvosotovsky may not have had the largest voice ever heard in his chosen repertoire--the last time I heard him was in IL TROVATORE with Netrebko--but it was unquestionably distinctive and exciting to hear. And he was a powerful stage presence second to none something that the Met has found difficult to muster from its soloists these days.



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