Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why Things Should Always Stay The Same

We here at Aria Serious are joking, of course.

We like adventure, we like intrigue, we like things new and challenging and different. However, it seems in the world of opera, people like things to be the same way they have always been.

Take the Met's newest production of La Sonnambula which opened this week. Throwing tradition aside, director Mary Zimmerman has set this production up to be an "opera within an opera" -- essentially the whole thing is staged as one big opera rehearsal. Sounds interesting and fun, if not true to the libretto.

But this is where we here at Aria Serious are wrong. Very wrong.

The Associated Press called the production a "travesty" while Bloomberg asks "what was she thinking?"

And then there were the boos at curtain calls. Ouch.

Of course, after reading all of this, we've shelved our dreams of directing our own opera down the road.

But joking aside, does booing at an opera discourage directors from taking risks? I happen to think risks are needed, and can sometimes be surprisingly enjoyable, especially for an art form that has essentially gone unchanged for hundreds of years. Perhaps I'm in the minority. What do you think?

As for the boos, I always felt Joan Sutherland said it best “I think Booing is ill-mannered. A hush, a deathly hush, is just as spine chilling as a boo!”

Or you could just blog about it.

- Edward

1 comment:

Smorg said...

I don't like booing either. :o( Though... in the USA, the audience does tend to be so overly generous that it might, in some selected circumstances, be a necessity mode of expressing disapproval at a really careless or horrid or offensive performance since there seems a greater percentage of audience here than, say, in Europe, who will clap at (or worse, give the standing ovation to) just about anything that makes noise (making that 'spine chilling absence of applause' impossible to achieve). :o(

I'd love to see more minimalistic conceptual staging of opera done on this continent, though. When it is a coherent and interesting concept, it can really inject new life into a really old and soggy opera... And it should probably cost less. :o)

Smorg... who has never booed at anyone, but would have done so with gusto (at the stage directors) had I been present at a show of Ascanio in Alba during the 2006 festival in Salzburg. ;oP