OperaGene’s list of recommended opera critics in the mid-Atlantic region is found by clicking the Opera Info page link and then the Critics link. In January, OperaGene began an annual review of opera critics in the mid-Atlantic region in which I referred to professional critics as “Knights of the Opera Table”. Susan Galbraith who writes for DC Theatre Scene has now been added to the list.
Ms. Galbraith holds a B.A. degree in English and Drama from Tufts University and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in professional theater, including directing and writing, with a particular emphasis in music-theater. She worked as an actress at the Boston Shakespeare Company under Artistic Director Peter Sellars. Another entry on her CV that caught my eye was that she once worked with Prince on writing songs. The earliest DC Theatre Scene opera review I located for her was I Pagliacci in January 2011.
I now routinely seek out Ms. Galbraith’s reviews of DC area opera productions; they are knowledgeable and detailed. For example, in her recent review of Washington National Opera’s Candide, her insights into how WNO’s production was modified from earlier versions were especially detailed. As another example, I thought her analysis of Missy Mazzoli’s music in WNO’s premiere of Proving Up was especially illuminating. However, I find her reviews to offer less professional criticism than I might prefer; perhaps her extensive background in theater makes her more appreciative of what the directors and performers put into their performances and less critical of the results. Thus, I read her reviews more for color and background than criticism. Nonetheless, I typically learn something about opera and the performances by reading her reviews. if you add Ms. Galbraith’s reviews to your reading list, you will achieve a more in depth and fleshed out impression of the performances.