San Diego Symphony Announces Annual January Festival
by A.A. Cristi - September 24, 2018

The San Diego Symphony's annual January Festival returns in its fourth year entitled, Hearing the Future. Throughout the festival, which runs January 9 - 27, 2019, the organization explores and celebrates the power of music and art to give voice to the evolution and revolutions in the world at large. The festival, curated by composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin (b.1990), will shine a spotlight on the music being made today - from composers and performers who are still in high school, to a 90-year-old jazz master. The festival will also explore the way music from the past - from Haydn, Beethoven and Berlioz to the creators of African-American spirituals - engaged with the most urgent issues of their time.

San Diego Lovers Of Musical Theatre! Sing Along With THE MIKADO, 9/23
by A.A. Cristi - August 10, 2018

When a work of musical theatre becomes so beloved and well-known, such a part of the cultural landscape, that aficionados sitting in the audience can barely resist the urge to sing along with the songs they know and love so well-why not let them, and even encourage them? 

Peak Performances Kicks Off Season with Afro-Cuban-Yiddish Opera
by Julie Musbach - July 10, 2018

Peak Performances kicks off its 2018-19 season with the world premiere of Hatuey: Memory of Fire, a rousing Afro-Cuban-Yiddish opera performed in English, Yiddish and Spanish, with music by Frank London, libretto by Elise Thoron, direction by Mary Birnbaum, and choreography by Maija Garcia.

by Ron Bierman - May 17, 2018

The San Diego Opera's last concert this season was billed as 'One Amazing Night.' The program was originally scheduled to feature soprano Lise Lindstrom and tenor Rene Barbera, but Barbera was released from his commitment when he was offered a Teatro alla Scala debut as Ernesto in a new production of Don Pasquale. He's sung multiple time in San Diego, and will likely return, but the company understood a La Scala debut means too much to an opera singer's career to stand in his way. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley, who had previously performed with Lindstrom in the San Diego production of Salome, was an effective stand-in. Earlier this season Grimsley played the pirate king here in Pirates of Penzance with surprising comic flair, though best known for dark and heroic roles.

by Ron Bierman - March 23, 2018

The San Diego Opera's production of Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas was premiered Saturday at San Diego's Civic Center. Much has been made of the influence the magical realism of Nobel-Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez had on Marcela Fuentes-Berain's libretto, but most of the magic is in Catan's music. In this production, the voices and staging added another helping of enchantment. What little magical realism there is in the libretto, compared to Marquez's inventive, often disorienting novels, was largely lost in the mix.

BWW Interview: Elaine Alvarez of San Diego Opera's Production of Florencia en el Amazonas
by Ron Bierman - March 17, 2018

I spoke recently with Elaine Alvarez who will be singing the lead role this weekend in the San Diego Opera's production of Florencia en el Amazonas by Mexican composer Daniel Catan and librettist Marcela Fuentes-Berain. Alvarez told me that when she got a call from the San Diego Opera's General Director David Bennett, 'I was at a train station in France, and it was cold. I started jumping up and down! And he was like, 'Do you think you're going to be ready to sing this? Is this in line now with where your voice is.' And I'm like, a hundred percent! Yes! Yes! Yes!' Spanish was her first language, Florencia appealed to her Latin heritage, and she knew her voice was ready. She'd sung Beatrice in Catan's earlier opera Rappaccini's Daughter and was delighted with the opportunity to make her San Diego debut with another of his works.

BWW Feature: SAN DIEGO OPERA 2018-19 SEASON at the San Diego Civic Center, and More
by Ron Bierman - March 8, 2018

The San Diego Opera's 2018-19 season will feature three grand operas at the city's Civic Center and three smaller-scale productions at other venues. Seasoned opera buffs are likely to fill the 3000-seat Civic Center for The Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto, and Carmen. But elaborate three-hour productions are a hard-sell for inexperienced listeners, many of whom believe that 45-seconds is about right for 'in-depth' news reporting. That's where the opera company's highly successful 'Detour Series' of shorter and more contemporary-feeling performances comes in. The two operas in that series next season are an English adaption of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, and Three Decembers, a chamber work by Jake Heggie, one of today's most successful operatic composers. The Detour series and the season conclude with 'One Amazing Night,' a recital devoted largely to Puccini and Verdi.

BWW Review: SAN DIEGO OPERA'S TURANDOT at the Civic Center
by Ron Bierman - February 27, 2018

The San Diego Opera's new production of Puccini's Turandot held rapt attention throughout its three acts in spite of a dark plot that's implausible even for opera, and a lead character less loveable than Lady Macbeth. Powerful men from other kingdoms flock to win Princess Turandot's hand by answering three riddles. This being long before the internet, none of the men seem familiar with them when Turandot asks for solutions. This is a serious oversite on their part. Twelve suitors, in the past year alone, have experienced the beheading failure entails. The 13th, Calaf of Tartary, succeeds only to have Turandot renege on her promise to marry the one who has the answers. When her father the emperor insists an oath is an oath, Calaf puts his head on the block again by swearing he will die if Turandot discovers his name by morning, otherwise she must marry him. She agrees, determined to discover his name before the sun rises.

by Ron Bierman - November 14, 2017

If a spouse transitions from one sex to another in a state where gay marriage is illegal, is the marriage still valid? There are many possible reactions to that question, including heated discussion, juvenile giggling, or reactionary distaste. Composer Laura Kaminsky chose empathy for those most directly affected. The result was her first opera, and it is a striking statement at a time when empathy for anyone different is in short supply. As one, a chamber work for two singers and string quartet, does a compelling job of describing a transgender's struggle with sexual identity. It is the latest offering in the San Diego opera's d tour series, which features smaller-scale works outside the usual operatic repertoire. Kaminsky's choice of artistic partners was as fortunate as her timing. Kimberly Reed, a transgender woman, and Mark Campbell, one of today's most successful librettists, collaborated to produce a story that feels real and has emotional impact.

BWW Previews: San Diego Opera Announces 2017-18 Season
by Erica Miner - May 2, 2017

General Director David Bennett's first complete season

BWW Interview: Kevin Langan on Operatic Idols and Vocal Longevity
by Erica Miner - April 13, 2017

Langan has performed with such opera luminaries as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Marilyn Horne

City Opera San Diego To Premiere Selections Of ST FRANCIS DE LOS BARRIOS, 3/17
by Molly Tracy - March 7, 2017

CITY Opera, San Diego's newest opera company, has commissioned San Diegans Joseph Martin Waters and Allan Havis to create a new opera based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

BWW Review: San Diego Opera's FALSTAFF a Moveable Feast
by Erica Miner - February 20, 2017

Any audience member would have left completely satiated after the delectable antipasto-to-pasticceria buffet

BWW Interview: Mezzo-Soprano Marianne Cornetti Swings for the Fences
by Erica Miner - January 31, 2017

The busy mezzo has even sung the National Anthem at a Pirates-Braves game

BWW Reviews: 'China' Comes to San Diego Opera
by Erica Miner - March 16, 2015

In a bold move, SDO premiered a production of John Adams' most frequently performed opera

BWW Reports: San Diego Opera Continues Its Battle for Survival
by Erica Miner - April 22, 2014

On Thursday, April 17, controversy over the closure of San Diego Opera took a startling turn at a Town Hall meeting with the theme, 'San Diego Opera Moves Forward: Alternative models of Opera in America.'