OPERA CRITICS IN THE MID-ATLANTIC REGION
Critics. Why bother? Good question, and I have visited the issue in two blog posts (Report 1, Report 2) . I have also initiated an annual report on my favorite opera critics in the mid-Atlantic, whom I refer to as Knights of the Opera Table. 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.
As I discover them, I add opera views to the three-month opera listing in the right side-bar on the Blog page and then transfer them to the Seasonal Lists page as they drop from the three-months listing.
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." Beginning in 2016 her primary area of responsibility shifted to covering the Pittsburgh Pirates, though she still does the occassional opera review.
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."
Charles Downey, Washington Classical Review (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/p/meet-moderator.html): Mr. Downey writes reviews for Washington Classical Review and sometimes the Washington Post. He is also moderator for Ionarts.com. He studied piano and obtained his Bachelor of Music in Piano from Michigan State University, then obtained his MA and PHD in musicology from Catholic University. He is a performer with several groups the the DC area as well as a music critic. I find his reviews to be scholarly and entertaining, often imparting his knowledge to his readers.
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, occasionally filling in for Anne Midgette; he frequently writes features for Opera News and review of recordings for Gramophone . 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.
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, formerly Philadelphia Inquirer, now free-lancing (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.