by Fred Plotkin
I hear frequent prophesies of doom from opera-loving Cassandres and Erdas, and my response is always the same: There has been much to love and support in our opera houses this year. This might have gone unremarked upon in the face of the management/labor strife and audience disaffection that have plagued major opera companies in the U.S. and abroad.
So I am here to honor and acknowledge many of the outstanding and memorable achievements in opera in 2015. I have seen productions that were large and grand and others that were done on a spare budget. For the record, I attended 87 performances given by 27 different companies.
It bears noting that my selections are based only on what I have personally seen and heard. Herewith the recipients of the 2015 Excellence in Opera Awards...
Recital: JAMIE BARTON (Feb 17 at Zankel Hall)
This was a great year for the art of the song... The prodigiously talented mezzo-soprano is still at the beginning of her career but already deployed a vast range of colors and emotions in a program that confidently included music in many languages, styles and moods.