Angela Allen

Review of Seattle Opera’s “Amelia”

Seattle's world premiere "Amelia" takes off with grace

Originally published on, May 31, 2010

Seattle Opera lacked a crucial element since lauded general director Speight Jenkins has run the show for 27 years. Until now, he has never commissioned an opera.

With Amelia, which made its elaborate two-hour world premiere in May, operagoers should have even firmer confidence in Jenkins' vision. Beginning in 2002, when he sorted through contemporary composers' works with director Stephen Wadsworth, settling on Daron Aric Hagen's music, he never looked back from his original intention to make an American opera with American themes. Read More

Beach sings in sweet Portuguese

Oregon Music News CD review of "Brasil Beat"

Originally published on Oregon Music News, May 31, 2010

Lucky for us, Bill Beach rose from the dead Benson Hotel's basement and went to Brazil.
This spring the pianist released his energetic Brasil Beat (yes, Brazilians spell it that way) on his label, Axial Records. Six of the 12 tracks feature Beach's breathy baritone-bass shaping original Portuguese lyrics. Cross-checked with Portuguese linguists, the lyrics are precisely articulated and beautifully phrased. Beach is a stickler for details and authenticity, as relaxed as his vocals sound. Read More

Portland’s Darwish is pushing music forward

Oregon Music News Review of Silverton Wine & Jazz Fest musicians

Originally published on Oregon Music News, May 9, 2010

Portlander Ben Darwish and his quartet stepped it up a notch at the caramel-corn-scented Palace Theater as part of the Silverton Wine & Jazz Festival. If you missed this gig, you lost out on the most innovative of the day, though certainly the sexy mid-century couple of bass genius Glen Moore and the inimitable crooner/scatter/partner Nancy King, accompanied by pianist Dan Gaynor, attracted a way bigger crowd later in the evening. Read More

Omar Sosa

Omar Sosa review

Sosa's Afreecanos energize Jimmy Mak's

Originally published on Oregon Music News, April 18, 2010

OK. Dr. Lonnie Smith and Gil Scott-Heron, even Nicholas Payton, reaped the lion's share of publicity for the Soul'd Out Music Festival continuing through this week in Portland. Read More

Portland Opera review: Cosi

`Cosi' delivers flawless chemistry

Originally published in, Feb. 7, 2010

Mozart's music, as singers say, is medicine for the voice. Light, lyric, and a century ahead of its time with its compositional cohesiveness, the maestro's melodies shaped a full-throttle comedic "Cosi" in Portland. Read More

Oregon Symphony review: Max Raabe

Max Raabe: sauve, sophisticated, hard to pin down

Originally published on Northwest Reverb, Feb. 25, 2010

In patent-leather shoes and tails, every hair slicked into place, Max Raabe led two hours of wit, elegance and impeccably presented music from the '20s and '30s at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Read More

Portland Jazz Festival and Oregon Symphony review: Dianne Reeves

Reeves’ Vaughan-like performance seals her reputation

Originally published on Northwest Reverb (, Feb. 16, 2009

Just when you think a Valentine’s date with the Oregon Symphony and glamorous jazz singer Dianne Reeves is shaping up to be utterly predictable and sentimental, the night throws in a few surprises. Read More

Terence Blanchard review

Terence Blanchard and the Portland Jazz Orchestra team up for fabulous concert

Originally published on Northwest Reverb (, Feb. 14, 2009

When Terence Blanchard, trumpet in hand, asked the Arlene Schnitzer audience to chime in on a chorus of  “A Tale of God’s Will,” bassist Derrick Hodge smiled sweetly.There was little chance that the audience, as ardent as it was, could capture the deep emotion that New Orleans’ Blanchard did when he composed this music based on his hometown’s tragedy. Bets are, “A Tale of God’s Will” will stick around in the archives for years. Portlanders were truly lucky to hear it. Read More

Review of Seattle Opera’s “The Pearl Fishers”

Pearl Fishers staging saves the libretto

Originally published on, Jan. 27, 2009

When the harnessed “flying” dancer floated dreamily behind the blue scrim to signal the pearl harvest in a far-off country, we were invited into a visually arresting show of “The Pearl Fishers,” if not into the most compelling story. Read More