The Playgoer: Quote of the Day

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Quote of the Day

"We call it Eurotrash...We go to hear people sing. We don't go for any production."

- a Metropolitan Opera patron (quoted here) responding to the company's announcement this week it was commissioning more new composers and directors. And I thought Euro-bashing was confined to the corridors of the Defense Department.

Also said: "It'll be fun for the critics to review once, but will you want to see it every three years after?" At issue here is the Met's "repertory"--i.e. a collection of 20 year old stagings which are now only perfunctorily rehearsed and, of course, rigged so that any top name star can fly in at a moment's notice and "plug into" the show. Franco Zefferelli has directed most of these it seems, and they will no doubt go on for years after he dies! (Many of the late John Dexter's productions have done just that.)

Imagine if theatre were like that? I hear that Stanislavski's staging of Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird is still in rep at the Moscow Art Theatre. And I'd love to see that--but such would clearly by a "museum" experience. That's what we call dead art. And for those of us who think opera is theatre--and sorry, Met groupies, by that I mean a "production" of some sort--that means it's not just about "the singers" but all that's going on on stage. Such as, the story?

Funny that the New York cultural elite is more conservative and fuddy duddy than any in Europe, where it all began. The reactionary fear here may be over the rumors of crazy "directors theatre" gone amok in European opera houses. Yes, there have been excesses. But at least over there they consider opera/theatre a living art form, engaging the current generation.


parabasis said...

Uh oh, Playgoer. Watch out! You might call down the wrath of AC Douglas!

Lucas Krech said...

Opera is considered alive in California as well.

Playgoer said...

Thanks "Lux". Nice lighting design, too!