Review: Cavelleria Rusticana + Paglicacci (Cav/Pag) at San Francisco Opera (***)

by Charles Kruger In the 19th and early 20th centuries, as realism came to the fore of theatrical culture, opera composers were quick to follow suit. Composers sensitive to the new style created “Opera Verismo” (“true opera”) telling real stories of real people, sometimes sordid and tragic (think of “Carmen”), sometimes noble and tragic (think […]

Review: ‘Caesar Maximus’ (adapted from Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’) by We Players (*****)

by Charles Kruger We Players is a company that specializes in site specific stagings of classic plays and stories, fully engaging the audience in the action. Such productions are a risky enterprise. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it falters. When it works, however, as in memorable stagings of “Macbeth” in the fog at Fort Point, or […]

Review: “The War of the Roses” (from Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” trilogy + “Richard III) at California Shakespeare Theater (****)

by Charles Kruger Richard The Third is one of Shakespeare’s most popular characters for good reason. As purely evil as Iago, Richard’s charming personality and delight in villainy make him fascinate audiences. Few actors could resist the chance to embody him. Certainly not Danny Scheie, a Bay area Shakespearean stalwart. The beloved UC Santa Cruz […]

Review: ‘Pirates of Penzance’ presented by Lamplighters Music Theatre (****1/2)

by Charles Kruger The moment Maestro David Drummond lowered his baton and the Lamplighters Orchestra attacked a perfectly articulated, well-paced, and modulated performance of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s delightful overture to “The Pirates of Penzance,” I began to shiver with delight. Drummond is an extraordinary conductor, and his thorough understanding of Sullivan’s music brought revelation after […]

Review: “Cavalleria Rusticana” + “I Pagliacci” at Verismo Opera in Vallejo (***)

by Charles Kruger   Even the most determined opera resister will have heard of “I Pagliacci,” the tragic story of a clown,  told in Ruggero Leoncavallo’s great one-act masterpiece of opera “verismo” (“realistic” opera about common people). Fewer will be familiar with “Cavalleria Rusticana,” another one act verismo masterpiece by Pietro Mascagni, both dating from the […]

Review: World premiere of ‘Washed Up on the Potomac’ by Lynn Rosen presented by SF Playhouse (***)

by Charles Kruger Three hapless proofreaders, their harried boss, and a mysterious character named “that guy” who does little else but toss paper airplanes from behind a glass partition, work in the dismal basement of a Washington D.C. advertising agency. Stuck in a dead end situation, with failing power (the lights are constantly flickering), they […]