Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mi frulla per la testa...

I have quite a number of events to blog about, but for some reason I didn't feel a verve to write... OK, I'm most of the time really busy, but since I don't socialize via tweeter or Facebook,  I could find 15 minutes here and there when on a train commuting and throw a few lines for a blog-entry... For some reason I didn't feel like doing it. 

It's probably the effect of spring on my brain -- time to clean up one's life. Or the blow I felt after seeing the 2011-2012 program at the Paris Opera was actually more serious than I initially thought would be... Or a series of downer-shows (Orlando Furioso, Cendrillon, Luisa Miller, Der Messias) demolished my enthusiasm and made me doubt my passion for opera in general.

When there is something intellectually stimulating, emotionally invigorating - I'm all for it. But when a series of shows makes the opposite effect on you, you start feeling a seed of doubt  planted somewhere between your heart and brain.

To see a dreadful production of Luisa Miller in Paris after Castellucci's Parsifal in Brussels is definitely a shock on your system that you cannot ignore. Your body starts rebelling...

One thing is clear: I do not see myself in the environment of conservative & judgmental folks who are happy recycling ~10 operas ad nauseam and enjoy agonizing over a few top notes (not) sung by any given singer -- who they then [with equal ardor] either admire or trash.

I like to see opera as living art that thrives on change. It appears that such a way to see opera is orthogonal to the course taken by the Paris Opera, and so the other day, after going through the list of events programmed for 2011-2012, I realized there were only 2-3 productions I was really interested in. And so, I decided not to subscribe to Opéra National de Paris any more, and I am still undecided about other houses.

But hey, it's not that bad. I liked Kabanova, Siegfried, I saw a riveting production of Turandot by Busoni in Dijon, three very good shows in Berlin (oh yes, I very much liked Graham Vick's Tristan!) Will briefly blog about all these shows in the days to come.


  1. Hi OC,

    "conservative & judgmental folks"

    Well, I am conservative only in the sense that I'd like to see the demotion of directors to the bottom rung in importance.

    "happy recycling ~10 operas ad nauseam and enjoy agonizing over a few top notes"

    Agreed. There are too many worthwhile operas out there that need to be rediscovered.

    Honegger's Antigone, Dukas Ariadne and Bluebeard, Chausson's Le Roi Arthus, Wolf-Ferrari's Le Donne Curiose and Roussel's Padmavati to name just 5.

    "agonizing over a few top notes"

    Yes, and it's silly.

    "like to see opera as living art that thrives on change"

    That is something I hear almost everyday so here is my question:

    Do you seriously believe that if operas were presented exactly like the composers intended that this would bring on a major decline in attendance today?

    Why do people today get so worked up over what happens on stage?

    In other words, are opera-goers and the general public in general so superficial (or deaf) that they can't look beyond the directorial/staging aspects and understand that ultimately the music is everything?

  2. I'm sometimes tired too of seeing those bloody brainless shows - to which I definitely count the stupid Krämer Ring. It's important to learn NOT to go to that kind of shows, even by mere curiosity. That's why I don't go to Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, Francesca, and so on.
    Fortunately good opera isn't dead: Basel, Marthaler/Janacek in Salzburg, and so on. I was last Sunday in Saarbrücken (one of the most ugly cities in Europe...) to see Phaéton by Lully with Christopher Alden and George Petrou: that was riveting! I'm trying to find time to go to London for Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream at the ENO, with Chris Alden again.
    The problem, I think, is really France, not opera!

  3. I could comment on this (for example that you should have attended Liederabend by Chris Maltman in Frankfurt instead, which was a true highlight and greatly entertaining, or Frau Anja H. in Trovatore together with Michaels- Moore or even Der Kuss in Hildesheim), but your last replies were so unfriendly in style that they came across as arrogant - so I made this resolution never ever to comment again on your blog, despite it probably being the most informative of them all. Just to let you know ;). (Apart from the fact that I still believe you were wrong...)

  4. Ciao OperaCake :) we wait for you what ti frulla per la testa :)
    this post is fantastic :)
    un bacio

  5. Nooooooooo, don't lose your verve! You're feeling bad due to that *blue* production of Anna Bolena. It will soon pass, give it time! :)

  6. @Rameau - I saw Christopher Alden's production of the Tales of Hoffman in Santa Fe last summer...his directing was the STAR of that production! Someone with a brain directing an opera in regional US theater, YAY!

  7. Are things really *that* bad? Subscribe to La Monnaie, it's only an hour or so away...