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Mozart will survive--


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#1 Ed Waffle

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 02:56 PM

because he can survive anything.

However, not everyone seems to think so. In a review from the July Opera a UK magazine that gets to these shores sporadically, the reviewer wrote about a performance of Cosi fan tutte by the Welsh National Opera. It was directed by Calixto Bieito--he had made his British opera debut with this production two years ago and returned to supervise the revival. Bieito, while real enough, is also a metaphor for everything that is many in the opera world consider wrong with director dominated productions.

In a relatively short article the reviewer, Rian Evans, used the following terms to describe what he saw and heard (or Bieito himself):

pathological cynicism

bad-boy reputation

unedifying spectacle

additional sordid layer

vulgarity of musical interpretation tailored to fit his brutal concept

crudity of his fundamental approach

unfeeling, jeering disdain

opted for the lewd rather than the discreet

nothing remotely perceptive

pointless histrionics

sense of general unease

grotesquely drawn inelegant circumstances



I probably missed a few but you get the idea. Opera seems particularly subject to being "interpreted" half to death.

This is not to say that there is only one "classic" way to present a classic, but directors who try to show know more about the theater than Mozart and Da Ponte are way out on a limb.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 03 September 2002 - 03:09 PM

Thanks for posting that, Ed. "Nothing remotely perceptive" struck a chord with me :)

Mozart can survive one such production, or even a dozen such productions, but when ALL the "Cosi fan tuttes" are like this, or worse, AND when critics rave about how they're moving the art form forward, delving deep into the soul of man AND opera goers consider them the norm....then Mozart will not survive.

#3 Farrell Fan

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 01:49 PM

One hopes that what will not survive are directors like this. For example, whatever became of that operatic "bad boy" of an earlier time, Peter Sellars?

#4 Watermill

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 04:54 PM

Sellars is a UCLA Prof of World Culture (fitting, isn't it?)

He still takes the field to stir the pot , but looks like Tyrone Guthrie next to the latest generation of whiz kids of whom I'd guess Messr Bieito is one.

"Opting for the lewd" struck me as a leitmotif I have certainly grown tired of ...But then I've just survived 6 years of James Canfield at OBT.

And this past theatre season, I had to endure a Seagull where Arkardina & Trigorin "enjoyed" each other on the dining table... in the middle of the afternoon... while speaking their lines...And no this was not a college production, but our major theatre company!

And don't get me started on Contact again...

Has somebody dumped viagra in the water system?

#5 Juliet

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 05:26 PM

Perhaps they need to start reading books again.

(My general remedy for what ails us.)

Any information on who is being considered to succeed Canfield at OBT?

#6 Watermill

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:39 PM

None whatsoever...

The board has hired a big headhunter from Canada to beat the artistic director bushes. The deadline for submissions was months ago, but I suppose they'll have to continue looking.

Knowing the scattered nature of the board (mostly business & government types with barely an artistic bone in their bodies) I have little confidence it will be someone special.

But I'd love to be suprised!

Just not Forsyth..I didn't mean That kind of suprise...


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