Monday, June 29, 2009

Reviews 101

If you believe the good ones, you gotta believe the bad ones.  That's the rule about reviews.  It's best not to put stock in any of them.  If you can use one to help sell a ticket or get a job, then great. The sad truth is that half the time the reviewers don't even know what they are listening to, and when they do, it's a matter of personal opinion.

Case in point:

From the Times Argus, June 21, 2009, Jim Lowe:
Despite his occasional but irritating embellishments to Mozart's sublime lines, Wilkowske's singing was full of the ease and warmth that makes this character so lovable.
From the Eagle, Dan Wolfe:
 I was so delighted to hear Andrew Wilkowske, the Figaro, ornament the return of the A section of his arias. I had never heard it done in other than the soprano parts in Mozart's operas, and it was wonderful.
....and that's why you don't put stock in reviews.  

I had a review in Opera News once (resume,resume) for Papageno in Magic Flute that said I was 'bulky and graceless in brown and white lederhosen' but then went on to say that I was a 'lusty-voiced fellow.'  OK, so he was basically reviewing my costume in the first part, and calling me fat, and hey, it's Papageno we're talking about here?  Should he be lithe and winsome?  I think not.  Plus, he left out the fact that the audience thought I was hilarious.  
Speaking of reviews, I watched "Amadeus" for the hundredth time the other day.  Here is what Peter Shaffer says (via Salieri) about Le Nozze di Figaro, while the gorgeous "Contessa, perdono" scene is playing out on stage:

The restored 3rd act was bold, brilliant.  The fourth....was astounding. I saw a woman  disguised in her maid's clothes hear her husband speak the first tender words he has offered her in years, simply because he thinks she is someone else. I heard the music of true forgiveness filling the theatre, conferring on all who sat there perfect absolution. God was singing through this little man, to all the world. Unstoppable. 

I concur.  

Please take a moment and read the latest on the Skylight mess form Milwaukee arts critic Tom Strini's blog.  Also take a listen to Charlie Sykes, a local radio personality lambaste the Skylight for their poor decision making.  AW.


  1. Opera is the most subjective of all the arts...IMHO. I subjectively think that this last set of reviews did my ego a world of good.


  2. Glad to hear it. As my friend Stanley says, "there's nothing in the world so wonderful that someone won't hate it and there is nothing in the world so horrible that someone won't love it. That's why it's important to trust your own instincts, do your very best, always be true to yourself, and respect your colleagues, the author/composer, and the audience." Sage.