One of my favorite terms to use to describe productions nowadays is “regie lite.” Regie lite productions dominate Glyndebourne, Salzburg, and increasingly, the Metropolitan Opera. Traditional stage directions are tweaked, periods are reset, but not in a way that radically deconstructs the work. If hardcore “regie” directors do a Michael Jackson total-deconstruction makeover on the opera, regie lite productions do a, well, Nancy Pelosi botox session. After viewing a new DVD of Stefan Herheim’s production of Rusalka, I’ve got a new category: “regie slick.” Read more »
They say that Boston, despite many cultural distinctions, ain’t no opera town, and for some decades—generations?—this has been true. But tides of change will break, even on the shores of the Hub. There is a baroque opera revival, spawned by the Boston Early Music Festival (a Monteverdi trilogy arriving next spring) and leading to hi-jinks at the region’s many schools, and to Boston Baroque, which gives Handel’s Agrippina in April. The somewhat traditional Boston Lyric Opera presents everything from Lizzie Borden (last month) to La Traviata (next month), though confining itself to three or four productions a year.
Then there’s a lively newcomer, Odyssey Opera, which debuted last year with Rienzi to celebrate the Wagner bicentennial. Last Saturday night, Odyssey gave Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s best-known opera, Die tote Stadt, in the New England Conservatory’s lovely, 800-seat Jordan Hall, and sold the place out. A very impressive cast sang and acted the concert with brief (mezzanined) contributions from the New World Chorale and the Boston Youth Chorus. Read more »
One of the things that made François Girard’s 2013 production of Parsifal at the Met so compelling was the way he tried to make the tale of suffering and temptation relevant to a contemporary audience. The French-Canadian director set the looming devastation of Montsalvat in a bleak, desiccated landscape populated by characters in modern dress who emerged from behind a mirrored curtain that reflected the auditorium. Stylized gestures and dramatic lighting evoked an abstract reality that heightened one’s awareness of the way nature and society work. Read more »
Walking away from Theatre Châtelet this afternoon, I felt as though my relationship with France and its notoriously perplexing people and culture had at long last reached some degree of depth.
The appeal of Ariadne auf Naxos (for me anyway) is the acknowledgment that underneath it all, opera (and all other forms of “high art”) is really show business.
None of my previous Elektra experiences prepared me for this stunning, overwhelming performance from the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
A good performance of a Rossini opera buffa usually bubbles along merrily.
It’s rare to encounter a video of an opera that has zero redeeming qualities, but I think I might have found it: the latest Arena di Verona La Traviata.