Critics.  Why bother?  Good question and we'll explore that issue in more depth in Blog posts as we go along (Update: See http://operagene.com/new-blog/2016/7/25/new-feature-show-the-critics-some-love).  Personally, I seek out reviews.  In general, I find that reviews by professional critics add to my knowledge of and appreciation for opera, and provide opinions for me to agree or disagree with.  For this section, I will just list critics who review opera in the mid-Atlantic region, the publications they work for, and a little info on their qualifications, as best I can discover.  This page will be updated and expanded from time to time as I learn about more critics and their backgrounds.

Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (http://blogs.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment/measured-words):  Ms. Bloom is classical music critic for the Post-Gazette and her blog is called "Measured Words."

Pauline U. Clay, Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://www.richmond.com/staff/article_2cf01249-fb2f-5660-a0da-f7c1904307d8.html):  Ms. Clay is features editor for the Times-Dispatch. She has an undergraduate degree in masscommunication from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master's degree in public administration. 

Robert Croan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (http://search.queryly.com/post-gazette.aspx?query=Robert%20Croan):  Bio info not found.

Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer (http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/peter_dobrin/): Mr. Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer with the Inquirer since 1989.  He has an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami and a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.  He has also written for the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post.  His blog is titled "Arts Watch."

Philip Kennicott, Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/philip-kennicott):  Mr. Kennicott is the chief Art and Architecture critic for the Post since 2011.  Beginning at the Post in 1999, he previously served as classical music critic and culture critic.  He has studied the piano and graduated from Yale University in 1988 with a degree in philosophy.  He won the 201 3 Pulitzer for Criticism and has been nominated for two other awards. I was drawn to Mr. Kennicott due to an article he authored titled "Discomfort Zone" in Opera News, which I found very impressive.  He writes about all arts and architecture, which sometimes includes opera.  His blog can be found at http://philipkennicott.com.  I think he is a strong buy in terms of following.

Anne Midgette, Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/anne-midgette):  Ms. Midgette is chief classical music critic for the Post.  She has served in this position since 2008.  According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Midgette) she graduated from Yale University, lived in Germany for many years reviewing opera and other arts, and has reviewed for other major publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Opera News.  She has also co-authored two books.  Her blog is called "The Classical Beat."  Ms. Midgette also frequently reviews performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as the DC area.  I find her reviews to generally be informative, insightful, and placed in the context of the current opera scene.  In my opinion, she is an outstanding opera critic, well worth following.

Roy Proctor, Richmond Times-Dispatch (http://www.richmond.com/): Bio info not found.

Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun (http://www.baltimoresun.com/balnews-tim-smith-20130507-staff.html): Mr. Smith, since 2000, is the fine arts critic for the Baltimore Sun, covering classical music, theater and visual arts.  He previously served as classical critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida.  He has contributed to NPR, the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine, and Opera News. His book, He has written the NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002).

David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer (http://www.wqxr.org/#!/people/david-stearns/):  Mr. Stearns is a classical music critic for the Inquirer since 2000.  He is also contributes to Opera News and Gramophone.  He is a blogger for Operavore.  He has an MA in musicology from NYU and a BA in journalism from Southern Illinois University.  He has served as a music commentator for WRTI-FM and NPR Morning Edition.