Review: Puccini’s ‘Manon Lescaut’ at SF Opera (***)

by Charles Kruger Lianna Haroutounian as Manon and Brian Jagde as the Chevalier des Grieux in SF Opera’s production of Puccini’s first great success, “Manon Lescaut.” Photo Credit: Cory Weaver/SF Opera. Much less familiar than Puccini’s “big three” masterpieces (La Boheme, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly), Manon Lescaut was the composer’s first great success. The story […]

Review: ‘Aida’ at SF Opera (****)

by Charles Kruger So, the first thing to know about “Aida” is that it is one of the most popular operas ever written, with thousands of performances, all over the world. In terms of spectacle, story, sweep, and grandeur it is the very definition of “opera” — from its most sublime to its most silly. […]

Review: ‘Carmen’ at San Francisco Opera (***)

by Charles Kruger Bizet’s music is outstripped by Calixto Bieto’s controversial staging in SF Opera’s “Carmen.” We all know “Carmen,” certainly one of the most accessible so-called war horses of the operatic repertoire. While we know it ends in violent death (it’s dramatic opera, right?), we also know we can count on it for rural charm, […]