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Performer: Tichina Vaughn

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AmsterdamPorgy and BessNew production

Porgy and Bess
Gershwin: Porgy and Bess
James Gaffigan; James Robinson; Dutch National Opera; Michael Yeargan; Catherine Zuber; Eric Owens; Adina Aaron
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Porgy and Bess at ENO: Gershwin's music the winner

Nicole Cabell (Bess), Eric Greene (Porgy) © Tristram Kenton
Porgy and Bess isn’t a perfect opera, but English National Opera's new production is a strong one. 
****1
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Nostalgia and neurosis as Die tote Stadt returns to the Semperoper after nearly a century

Christoph Pohl (Frank/Fritz) and Manuela Uhl (Marietta) © David Baltzer
In a score that can be a Technicolor wallow, Jurowski’s sure sense of dramatic pulse and balance, encompassed the brash dance rhythms, religious grandeur, vivid tone painting and the extremes of dissonance.
*****
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A dream cast: Rigoletto at the Dresden Semperoper

©  Matthias Creutziger
Dating from 2008, the Semperoper’s current production of Rigoletto is quite intriguing. It’s set in what appears to be a swanky 21st-century Berlin apartment – industrial, sparse and effortlessly cool – and in many ways this is an interesting choice.
***11
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A heart-wrenching Madama Butterfly at Dresden's Semperoper

Marjorie Owens (Cio-Cio-San), Tichina Vaughn (Suzuki)  ©  Matthias Creutziger
In the early years of the 20th century Puccini was a very happy man. His most recent opera, Tosca, was proving as successful as La Bohème, and the lucky composer was being summoned to opera houses throughout Europe for its premières. In the summer of 1900 Puccini attended the première performance of Tosca in London, and soaked in the atmosphere of Europe’s largest city.
****1
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A relentlessly dark Don Carlo at the Dresden Semperoper

Sade, Frontali, Guriakow, Scandiuzzi  ©  Matthias Creutziger
There’s something relentlessly dark about Verdi’s Don Carlo. King Philippe and his son, the eponymous Don Carlo, are both very troubling characters, the former power-hungry and vengeful, the latter plagued by desire for his stepmother.
***11
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