Gilbert and Sullivan: Patience   Lyric Opera Cleveland  2002

"Ah "Patience." How witty the ideas in Sir William Gilbert's libretto.

How delectable the mellifluous and merry sounds in Sir Arthur Sullivan's

score. How nice that Lyric Opera Cleveland has done the work such

justice in a concept of chamber-opera proportions. Philip Kraus'

staging underlines the parody of aestheticism with gentle whimsy. 

Every physical gesture is a subtle comment on the text, and Kraus

blissfully has avoided the temptation to turn a sweet, elegant piece into a

slapstick farce. Still there are many hilarious moments, such as Lady

Jane's ambidextrous bowing of a double bass during her Act II ode

to aging. The mirth extends in many directions, from the swooning

maidens and oh-so-upright dragoons to the preening poets who vie

for the hand of the milkmaid, Patience."

                                            Donald Rosenberg   Cleveland Plain Dealer

Kalman: The Duchess of Chicago     Light Opera Works  1997

"Though it's taken 70 years for Emmerich Kalman's operetta "The

Duchess of Chicago" to reach the Windy City, the wait has paid

off  splendidly. The little-known musical gem gleams in its American

premiere production by Light Opera Works….For Light Opera

Works' staging, artistic director Philip Kraus teamed up woth

Gregg Opelka to create a spirited, contemporary translation of the

original libretto by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grunwald…Directed

with rapid-fire speed and winsome energy by Kraus, "The Duchess

of Chicago" intelligently addresses the timeless issue of whether

capitalism robs a country of its national identity. But the production

has its lighter moments. The opening nightclub scene creates

a series of arresting dichotomies, expressed mainly in dueling musical

styles. The Charleston collides with the Czardas, while royals are

ignored as celebrities like Charles Chaplin are greeted with a flourish. 

Kraus lets his superb cast revel in the excess of the American Dream.

A wild west dance sequence and asparkly chorus-girl routine

underscore the glitz of Hollywood's early golden age."          

                                              Lucia Mauro        Chicago Sun Times

Verdi: Rigoletto                Pamiro Opera                               1995

"Stage director Philip A. Kraus updated the traditional setting of a

sadistic, womanizing Duke and his equally sadistic courtiers to an

underworld club owner in South Miami and his gang of punks and thugs-

Rigoletto, the Duke's jester in the original version, has become an

embittered master of ceremonies at the club, spitting out his bile with

the worst of the lot until the tables are turned on him and his own

daughter is threatened.  While this reviewer tends not to be overly

enamored of aggressively updated productions (many of which have a

forced and gimmicky quality), this production was quite compelling and,

in some ways, more effective at explaining the tensions between the

characters than the original courtly context...A rousing standing ovation

was provided for this fine performance and few have deserved it more."

                                         Terrence O'Grady   Green Bay Press Gazette

"Last Friday night at UWGB's Weidner Center, Pamiro Opera presented

a regional audience with Verdi's Rigoletto set in the South Miami of today. 

In doing so Pamiro unleashed a performance of gritty, powerful music

theatre- exactly what opera should be...Philip Kraus's direction was

impeccable.  Shifting the action to another time period often is no more

than an arbitrary device, but here it greatly clarified characters,

motivations, and situations.  This was real life and death- no mere

parade of period costumes...The heart of this Rigoletto was genuine

greatness, capturing the very essence of Verdi's score."

                                                 Erik Eriksson    Door County Advocate

Gilbert and Sullivan: Princess Ida   Light Opera Works  1990

"Light Opera Works' weekend rendition of Princess Ida in Evanston left

us, like the heroine's father, a frustrated old curmudgeon who is foiled

by getting everything his heart desires, with 'nothing whatever to

grumble at'...between director Philip Kraus, conductor Philip J. Bauman

and choreographer Beatrix Rashid, it was immediately apparent that the

right hands were on the reins."

                                                 Suzanne Weiss    Pioneer Press

Puccini: Madama Butterfly                 Pamiro Opera            1994

"Philip Kraus again crafted thoughtful, thorough theatrics for the

production, his seventh for Pamiro.  Kraus has a sharp eye and ear,

as was evidenced in his complete feel of the final product.  Kraus

also adds interesting touches to Pamiro efforts.  This year, two

spectacularly costumed characters "lifted" the curtain on each act and

then signaled the close of each."

                                     Warren Gerds        Green Bay Press Gazette

Straus: The Chocolate Soldier     Light Opera Works         1987

"Heard much as it sounded 79 years ago in Vienna (but as it's never

been done in America) and performed at least as persuasively, Light

Opera Works' recent definitive production of Oscar Straus' The Chocolate

Soldier was a sumptuous bit of Viennese pastry-- sweet and frothy-- and

very habit-forming.  Director Philip Kraus...who doggedly spent a year and

half tracking down the original Viennese version and with Gregory

Opelka has provided a sprightly new English translation--  (Kraus)

moved the numbers swimmingly..."

                                    Lawrence Bommer  Windy City Times

Herbert: Naughty Marietta     Light Opera Works           1983

"To his credit, director Philip Kraus let this crazy piece run its own

course.  He staged the moments of unbridled melodrama, such as the

revelation of Marietta's true identity at the end of Act II, for all the

fire they held.  With the scene's shadowy lighting and throbbing

voices, you might have thought  it was from Fidelio.  Yet in passages

such as the giddy courtship game played by delicious French maidens

and indelicate American soldiers, the comedy was light-headed as

it could be. The women squealed, the men harrumphed, and here

was romance exactly as Herbert had satirized it...Best of all, the

production as whole managed to mix farce and pathos without

leaning too much in either direction."

                                      Howard Reich        Chicago Tribune

Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri       Pamiro Opera                 2002

"The stage action was sprightly. Stage director Philip Kraus'…

occasionally ribald touch seemed to work well on this occasion. The

libretto for "Italian Girl" is just the sort of semi-inspired nonsense that

is helped along by visual gags, and Kraus never seemed to run out of


                                    Terence O'Grady  Green Bay Press Gazette

Gilbert and Sullivan: Ruddigore    Light Opera Works   1996

"Halloween arrives early this year, courtesy of Light Opera Works,

and what a delightful Halloween it is...Director and LOW aristic

director obviously has a penchant for this sort of thing, and no

tombstone has been left unturned.  Kraus must have been the

kind of kid who put together haunted houses effective enough

to scare the entire neighborhood. From the moment you enter Cahn

Auditorium in Evanston, there are cobwebs and bats flying about,

setting the proper mood for this bizarre tale of frivolous phantoms

and silly spirits...Kraus heightens the effect by staging the work in

an equally unconventional manner that is squarely in the Tim

Burton tradition, although at times spilling over into The Rocky

Horror Picture Show camp.  The bridesmaids lamenting at the

beginning of the work, for instance, are in wedding gowns, but the

gowns are more like burial shrouds and the poor girls are cleverly

made up a la Beetlejuice, suggesting that they'll never get to

the church on time.  Kraus himself appears as the ghostly old Sir

Roderic, flying about and dressed for the occasion a la Lon Chaney's

The Man in the Beaver Hat from Tod Browning's London After

Midnight.  The look is complete with flying skeletons right out of

William Castle's House on Haunted Hill...Of course, none of these fun

gimmicks would mean very much if they weren't so cleverly integrated

into the overall story...It's not easy to be both funny and scary at the same

time, but Ruddigore succeeds on both levels, and so many more."

                                      Dennis Polkow    Spotlight, Press Publications

Strauss: Die Fledermaus        Opera Midwest                     1979

"Opera Midwest's Fledermaus is outstanding...Philip A. Kraus' direction

of the work could be presented by any major American opera company."

                                     Robert C. Marsh     Chicago Sun Times

 Parmentier: The Lost Dauphin     Pamiro Opera              2000 

"Green Bay was given the rare treat of a world premiere opera

performance…"The Lost Dauphin" by F. Gordon Parmentier. This was

a major undertaking from beginning to end…both the opera and the

performance must be deemed a significant success….despite the dramatic

inconsistencies, the work delivered a powerful message of a man haunted

by demons and struggling with circumstances over which he has only

sporadic control. Philip Kraus' staging was hauntingly effective, as was

the stage and lighting design of Jeffrey Entwhistle whose sets were

distinguished by a fascinating mixture of semi-abstract Native American

and French symbols and engaging naturalism.  The transformation of

William' bedroom in New York to the elegant ballroom of the French

court in Act 1 scene 3 was nothing short of magical, an effect rendered

all the more potent bt the eye catching costumes designed by Shifra Werch."

                                               Terence O'Grady     Green Bay Press Gazette

Gilbert and Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore  Light Opera Works 1981

"Light Opera Works' Pinafore is a spirited romantic delight...let's

emulate the ship's sailors and give three cheers and one cheer more

for the hardy captain of this Pinafore, artistic director Philip Kraus. 

Under his knowledgeable guidance, the production is tenderly romantic,

devastatingly clever, and sometimes, even riotously funny."

                                               Valerie Scher        Chicago Sun Times

Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld  Light Opera Works 1981

"I must credit Philip A. Kraus, who directed the opera, with the manner 

in which a large cast was assembled with every role acceptably played and

sung. The children were especially good; the principals were, on the whole,

very good indeed.  How many caught the fact that Darrell J. Rowader was

made up to look like the composer?  That was a brilliant point, as was the

neon sign pointing to hell.  And those pink, scene stealing sheep in Act 1

aren't to be forgotten either"

                                                   Robert C. Marsh   Chicago Sun Times

Puccini: Gianni Schicchi      Light Opera Works                 1982

"Although only in its second year of existence, the Evanston based Light

Opera Works...has found a niche in Chicago's opera scene:  it mounts

light, comic fare that tends to be passed up by bigger companies in

town.  Moreover, it's artistic director, Philip Kraus, has shown a flair

for picking worthwhile projects...Kraus' knowing direction kept up the

manic spirit of the comedy while observing the delicate, nuanced details

of the farce...It will be hard for me to forget the lively ensemble in which

they (the relatives) realize, one by one, that the money had

been left to the monks."

                                                   Ted Shen           The Chicago Reader

Offenbach: The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein      LOW    1986

"Philip Kraus' direction of a large supporting cast was unusually deft. 

The officious Baron Puck, arriving on a bicycle, interrupted the overture,

insisting that the audience stand at proper attention for the Gerolstein

National Anthem.  General Boum, striding about in an extravagantly

feathered hat, took cover during a bombing siege and emerged shaken

from his tent, white feathers reduced to few pitiful, electrified

curlicues...the best work I've seen this six-year-old company do."

                                               Wynne Delacoma   Chicago Sun Times

Kalman: The Gypsy Princess        Light Opera Works     1990

"Any music organization that survives its first decade, let alone

the era of Reaganomics, deserves a hand. The Evanston-based Light

Opera Works has done just that, and even more impressive, it's

thriving...Kraus and his colleagues have come up with a persuasive

arguments why some operettas at least deserve another hearing...

Kraus' staging was smart and nuanced...Kraus, who has a Ph.D. in

music from Northwestern, is said to research each production

extensively.  And it showed-- in the witty, updated translation of

the libretto and in the wonderful little touches, such as Boni's comic

bit with the phone.  And Kraus did not forget the poignant sadness

that infiltrates even the gayest moments.  The Gypsy Princess is

dated, but this production made much of its mirth and emotions

accessible to today's audiences, judging by the laughter in Cahn


                                           Ted Shen   The Chicago Reader