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In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

John Conklin

John Conklin is an internationally-recognized set designer and dramaturg. He has designed sets on and off-Broadway, at the Kennedy Center and for opera companies around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bastille Opera in Paris, the Royal Opera and the opera houses of Munich, Amsterdam, and Bologna, among many others. Mr. Conklin is on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School and has served as the Artistic Advisor to BLO since 2009.

Recent Posts

The Conductor Cometh: Leonard Bernstein

Apr 23, 2018 10:24:22 AM
By John Conklin posted in 2017/18 Season, #tahitiBLO, Leonard Bernstein, Conductors, Conducting

John Conklin curates a range of videos demonstrating Bernstein's versatility and expressiveness as a conductor.
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A Snapshot from 1952

Apr 17, 2018 2:26:49 PM
By John Conklin posted in John Conklin, 2017/18 Season, #tahitiBLO, Chronology, The Game of Dates, Leonard Bernstein, 1950s

From the Korean War to 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,' John Conklin explores events that occurred in 1952, the same year that Trouble in Tahiti premiered.
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What do SCOTCH TAPE, CHE GUEVARA, and THE THREEPENNY OPERA have in common?

Mar 20, 2018 3:57:58 PM
By John Conklin posted in 2017/18 Season, #ThreepennyBLO, Brecht, Weill, Chronology, The Game of Dates

The Threepenny Opera had its first performance in Berlin on the 31st of August 1928—let’s explore what else occurred that year.
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“Mackie” Goes Wild: “Mack the Knife" Part II

Mar 16, 2018 11:47:12 AM
By John Conklin posted in 2017/18 Season, #ThreepennyBLO, Brecht, Weill

We have looked at and listened to some relatively straightforward renditions of the insidiously persuasive strains of “Mackie Messer,” or “Mack the Knife.” Here are some others--from the bizarre to the campy!
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Song about A Serial Killer Hits Top of the Charts: "Mack the Knife"

Mar 16, 2018 11:36:16 AM
By John Conklin posted in 2017/18 Season, #ThreepennyBLO, Brecht, Weill

Although a last-minute addition to the original production in 1928, “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer” has gone on to become its biggest hit.
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Brecht Hated Opera: So Why Write Threepenny?

Mar 14, 2018 2:31:57 PM
By John Conklin posted in John Conklin, #ThreepennyBLO, Brecht, Weill, Theater

Brecht hated opera—a bit simplistic and overstated, granted, but perhaps not entirely inappropriate for dealing with the highly opinionated beliefs of this protean playwright, poet, composer, director, actor, and theoretician. But upon further examination, the situation becomes more ambiguous.
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Three Figaros in Search of an Opera

Mar 29, 2017 11:24:36 AM
By John Conklin posted in BLO, #BLO40, #FigaroBLO

Of the Beaumarchais Figaro trilogy of plays, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro live on both in their own right and through the operas that mark cornerstones of the repertory, while the third play, The Guilty Mother, has provided the foundation for a fascinating, challenging 20th-century work. The enduring character of the wily Figaro, and the other personalities drawn into his orbit by Beaumarchais, have appealed to numerous composers beyond the untouchable Rossini and Mozart.
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Neoclassicism: Order, Clarity, Balance, Economy

Mar 9, 2017 11:39:27 AM
By John Conklin posted in BLO, #BLO40, #RakesBLO, Stravinsky

Neoclassicism in music was an important and striking 20th-century trend…and Stravinsky has often been portrayed as its most eloquent proponent and The Rake’s Progress as its culmination.
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Stravinsky Arrested in Boston for Desecration

Mar 7, 2017 10:57:38 AM
By John Conklin posted in BLO, #BLO40, #RakesBLO, Stravinsky

Boston Globe: Did the Star-Spangled Banner land Stravinsky in jail? An irresistible headline, a famous photograph…but it may all be just a kind of urban legend, “fake news” before its time. The real story is rather more complex and interesting.
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Stravinsky: A Chronological Portrait in 7 Photographs and 8 Bits of Music

Mar 3, 2017 11:00:51 AM
By John Conklin posted in BLO, #BLO40, #RakesBLO, Stravinsky

Stravinsky: A face of infinite variety and music of an almost unprecedented range of stylistic mastery.
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