The Castleton Festival

I wrote a piece about the rural Virginia-based Castleton Festival for Opera News, which appeared in the magazine’s June issue. It’s now online. I returned from a month of travel to catch the last of the Castleton performances, a scrappy and often exciting production of Verdi’s Otello, with soprano Joyce … Continue Reading The Castleton Festival


    Yesterday I won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. The news was announced almost simultaneously with the first alerts coming out of Boston. Many of us weren’t aware of what was going on until after the gathering around the main news desk broke up, perhaps an hour later. By the … Continue Reading Yesterday

More on the Corcoran

I used a column in Sunday’s paper to examine how the Corcoran’s curatorial history, its identity as an institution, and an all-too-frequent failure to capitalize on success has led it to its current financial woes. But there’s nothing there that can’t be fixed by passionate, enlightened, dedicated leadership. The Mapplethorpe … Continue Reading More on the Corcoran

Maya 2012

While in Philadelphia to see the Barnes collection a few weeks ago, I popped over to the Penn Museum to take in a new exhibition devoted to the Maya. The exhibition is billed as an examination of the supposed Maya doomsday prediction, which is all the rage in the darker … Continue Reading Maya 2012

On recommending books

    We do it enthusiastically, breathlessly, when we’re young, with no worries about whether or not the friend to whom we recommend a book will find anything at all meaningful in it. Have you read this? You must read it. I don’t recommend books very often any more, and I … Continue Reading On recommending books

The Met Relents

Reaction was obviously swift, furious and focused, and now the Metropolitan Opera has sent word that Opera News will indeed continue to review new Met productions. An emailed statement came from Lee Abrahamian: May 22, 2012 Opera News Will Continue to Review Metropolitan Opera Productions In view of the outpouring … Continue Reading The Met Relents