What does a great opera production do, and what does a bad production fail to do? Read more »
The Hänsel und Gretel discussions over the holidays plunged me down a YouTube rabbit hole, and while I was grubbing around down there I saw an amount of directorial Fail at one particular point that was surprising in such a reliable old warhorse. Read more »
Bayreuth’s most recent production of Tannhäuser was set to be retired. So of course they captured the 2014 performances for posterity and released it on video. The DVD has the typical Bayreuth package—it’s well-filmed, with a fairly steady camera that often pans out to full-stage shots instead of the using the new HD technique of constant close-ups. Good job, Bayreuth film crew.
The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is however the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess. The first clue that the director might have been a little too high on his own ideas is the fact that the pre-curtain time AND intermissions are staged. Yes, that’s right, Baumgarten apparently thought his ideas were such treasures that he expected the audiences to not pee during a five-hour opera. I have no idea how this actually played in the house and whether everyone really stayed put during intermissions but this is how it’s presented in the video. Read more »
La Cieca (not pictured) surrenders, cher public: she can no longer bear the burden of opposing ignorant, hysterical pearl-clutching on the internet. The clutchers have won.
“New York is great. Opera is great. They deserve each other. So what can we do to get them together? Who can show us how it’s done? We need to ask the Germans.”
Fans of the “context-free laundry list” school of opera criticism will be happy to know that “the world’s preeminent philosopher in the field of aesthetics,” Roger Scruton, has now shouldered the white man’s burden of rescuing opera from interpretation.
Some thoughts about the perishability of opera productions follow.
Mariusz Trelinski will direct Tristan und Isolde for Metropolitan Opera in a production that will premiere there on opening night 2016.
The role debut of a world-class singer is always a time of great anticipation, hopefully to be followed by celebration, if not unbridled jubilation.