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I hate operas with modern staging.

No! I don't want to see Rigoletto set in the 1980s. What a lame attempt to be edgy and creative.

by Anonymousreply 4501/13/2021

It's called Regietheater. When it's good it's great, but when it's not....

by Anonymousreply 101/08/2021

You are just going to have to come to terms with postmodernity.

by Anonymousreply 201/08/2021

How is 1980 “modern”?

I hate it when they set operas randomly at a specific time or place (I once saw a Butterfly that was staged to take place on the moon).

I’m not a huge fan of traditional staging either.

But give me a good surreal staging and I’m a pig in heaven.

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by Anonymousreply 301/08/2021

Otto's Carmen with Dandrige, Bailey and Belafonte was wonderful. Regular opera can put me to sleep faster than a Xanax.

by Anonymousreply 401/08/2021

I like modern settings. The singers often seem more involved when they’re not done up in costumes from a long-ago time.

by Anonymousreply 501/08/2021

I hate historically themed movies with modern music.

by Anonymousreply 601/08/2021

I hate historically themed movies with modern music.

by Anonymousreply 701/08/2021

THAT I can get behind. That Marie Antoinette movie makes me sick.

by Anonymousreply 801/08/2021

Well, unless they are modern operas. "Nixon in China" at the SF Opera a couple years ago... the staging was more appealing than the music. I like John Adams but as an opera that minimalist stuff is odd... dadadadadadadadadadadadad word fafaffafafafafafafafaf another word cacacacacacacacac a couple words...

by Anonymousreply 901/08/2021

You can all go fuck yourselves!

by Anonymousreply 1001/08/2021

I disagree, OP. The SF Opera's staging of the Ring Cycle had a 20th century setting, and it totally worked on stage. From the Edwardian setting of "Das Rheingold" to the Gibiches shown as modern-era nouveau riche trash, it brought out the drama of the story!

The staging of "Siegfried" was the least fully realized of all the stagings, but then, the characters in that story have almost no contact with the larger civilization around them. You can't really set it anywhere but in the middle of nowhere.

by Anonymousreply 1101/08/2021

They could be made into preppers, perhaps, R11?

by Anonymousreply 1201/08/2021

R12 = OP

by Anonymousreply 1301/08/2021

The Copenhagen Ring is great.

by Anonymousreply 1401/08/2021

I prefer the Boulez/Chereau Ring. People were outraged at the time, but it looks a little stodgy now compared to the whole "nekkid dude with flopping meat is the Rheingold" brave new world.

by Anonymousreply 1501/08/2021

Star Wars Meets Wagner

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by Anonymousreply 1601/08/2021

I liked Ian McKellen's 90s *Richard III* set in the 1930s, bringing the English civil wars into the terms of a more recent (though still distant by two generations) political crisis, making the brutality and authoritarianism more urgent and easier for a modern audience to understand. Who knew that a quarter century later it wouldn't need quite so much assimilation.

by Anonymousreply 1701/08/2021

Melbourne Ring Cycle in OZ. I would of thought the Rhinemaidens feather headgear would be a tad soggy.

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by Anonymousreply 1801/08/2021

I saw Carmen at the Santa Fe Opera a few years back and it was set on the U.S./Mexico border in the 1970s with lots of brown and burnt orange. A kind of homage to current events I presume. Combine this with the overdone/overexposed music and the cliché tropes that we are all now familiar with and it was rather overwrought. It felt like the concept was conceived by someone who absolutely can't get over how amazing their farts smell. The same season featured a rather lovely and more traditional (if I remember correctly) staging of Stravinsky's Le Rossignol that I enjoyed.

by Anonymousreply 1901/08/2021

[quote]. I would of thought

I would have thought that these women are extras. And I would have thought that the real singers who are actually singing are actually fat.

Cf Rita Hunter.

by Anonymousreply 2001/08/2021

I think sometimes they have to do something different just to keep it fresh for the people who are doing the production, even if the audience isn't necessarily clamoring for it.

by Anonymousreply 2101/08/2021

I saw all the operas I want to see in the opera house over 15 years.

There are no worthwhile new operas. And there's little need to see the old operas again because the singing is so much superior on CD in the comfort of home.

by Anonymousreply 2201/08/2021

Being new to the genre and presumably younger than most of you, I find surreal staging to be total wank. It reminds me of the terrible performance art my classmates would turn in for projects at University.

Not a fan of period setting, either, though it can help with understanding the mindset of the composer. I actually disagree with OP, contemporary or post/modern staging helps people like me grasp opera more fully.

by Anonymousreply 2301/08/2021

30-year-old string player here. Studied/performed many of the more popular operas as well as some more obscure ones.

I like to remember that the music, libretto, etc. come from a stylized and romanticized telling of a story. Aesthetically, this is a process that culminates in beauty and idealization. I have found that postmodernism within the musical performing arts (at least the projects I have been involved in) often eschew beauty in the romanticized ideal specifically and knowingly for a myriad of reasons (juxtaposition, statement, freshness, shock, etc.).

Either sitting in the pit or in the audience I would prefer (and be more impressed by) a traditional staging that features glorious sets, costumes, and performances done at the highest level true to the intention the composer and librettist (within reason) rather than a modern staging where we are supposed to pretend that La bohème staged in a women's prison a la Orange is the New Black is beautiful.

Feel free to disagree because that is what makes art beautiful.

Coincidentally, I have started reading Vol. 1 of Dietrich Von Hildebrand's Aesthetics and it is quite fascinating as he makes arguments against postmodernism and its effects on our canonical perception of beauty. Definitely an interesting thought exercise to apply to how an opera may be staged today as opposed to 50 years ago.

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by Anonymousreply 2401/08/2021

Edinburgh Scotland. 1980. Scottish Opera production of Rigoletto. The BDSM production of Rigoletto, that is. The sets were all chain link fences, everybody wore leather, there were whips and chains everywhere, Countess Ceprano was the quintessential dominatrix, with a leather bustier, thigh high stilleto boots and a whip. And everybody wore top hats. Everybody. Well, you can't say they didn't make an impression.

by Anonymousreply 2501/08/2021

One advantage of modern staging is to attract non-opera fans such as myself.

This past year an arts cable channel aired a production of Mozart's Così fan tutte that was set in the 1950s, and I thought it was totally delightful.

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by Anonymousreply 2601/08/2021

[quote] Von Hildebrand's Aesthetics and it is quite fascinating as he makes arguments against postmodernism

Dear R24, I feel as though I should attempt to read that but I'm exhausted with fear over the new viral strain.

by Anonymousreply 2701/08/2021

R27 I'm sorry to hear you are in such anguish!

Perhaps Von Hildebrand would give you some respite and peace during this time.

Some reviews:

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by Anonymousreply 2801/08/2021

This one would work in any setting.

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by Anonymousreply 2901/08/2021

If a new setting can help make Shakespeare or operating more approachable for audiences, or if it can help highlight certain themes & messages within a work, I can get behind it.

Theater & opera companies with any kind of artistic & professional integrity don't just decide to set "Rigoletto" or "Hamlet" in the 1980s willy-nilly, & for no reason at all. It's done with a purpose & for a reason.

by Anonymousreply 3001/08/2021

* Shakespeare or opera

by Anonymousreply 3101/08/2021

Another modern setting I liked was the SF Opera "L'Elsir d'Amore", which was set in a small American town circa 1917. A more bucolic, more innocent age, when young men thought that signing up for a distant war was the height of cool and not throwing their lives or sanity away. The composer had wanted a simple, rustic setting, and this was just a slight change in the sort of simple, rustic setting used.

Honestly, the less pretentious the modernization, the easier it is to live with.

by Anonymousreply 3201/08/2021

Oh please; it's time those ancient Franco Zeffirelli La bohème, Tosca, Turandot and Don Giovanni productions along with some others were retired. Only those older than dirt and spit love them, meanwhile younger audiences want something newer and more modern.

If opera is to survive, especially outside of Europe where often state support is slim to nil, it is going to take appealing to younger audiences to get butts in seats. Otherwise in a generation or two many major opera houses (at least in USA) likely will be gone.

by Anonymousreply 3301/08/2021

This is the most horrendous stage I have seen so far. Oh, and the singing is just bad.

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by Anonymousreply 3401/08/2021

I think abstract/surreal/PoMonstaging can work, provided it is very simple and uncluttered so it cannot distract from the music.

The French know how to do this right—of course they do, they invented the light comic opera. I’m thinking of the production of LES PALADINS (2004-2005, Theatre du Chatelet) with Sandrine Piau & Topi. For Argie’s ariette ‘Je vole, amour’, Stephanie d’Oustrac was clad in red gym shorts and over-the-knee schoolgirl socks, and sang in front of a Windows 2000 blue-sky background while a couple of dancers in plain studio rehearsal gear popped and locked for some reason. A naked man appeared to dance a few elementary ballet steps, at one point.

To my untrained ear, baroque music seems to pair nicely with cheerful childlike postmodern design; I’m sure someone more intelligent than I can theorise why that might be. In this show, the primary-colored projections, clean bare costumes, and stripped-down movements preserved the lightness of the libretto, I feel. The only major risk one runs is audience distraction, particularly if the dancing or projections become ADD and do not complement the music (and that did not happen in this instance).

People don’t associate opera with fun or feelings of bright light frisky mood, so it’s good that some stagings do attempt to show that this is possible. Does anyone know of other productions similar in feel and style to this one?

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by Anonymousreply 3501/09/2021

[italic]The Mikado[/italic]* was staged at an English tennis club, 1920ish, with Eric Idle playing the Lord High Executioner. This was way back when Fergie was photographed having her toes sucked, so she was mentioned in his list of people who never would be missed. It was fun. I think it toured.

* Yes, I know it's not an opera.

by Anonymousreply 3601/10/2021

[quote] No! I don't want to see Rigoletto set in the 1980s.

I saw a Rigoletto at the Met set in a casino in the 1950s, and it was brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 3701/11/2021

It really is a case of, "does the staging serve the script and music?" If it illuminates the script in a way modern audiences would not understand in a period production, without three pages of program notes, then fine. If it is just the the director publicly masturbating, forget it. I also think part of it depends on how much one sees opera a theater and how much one sees opera as a concert with sets and costumes.

As theater, I liked Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme. He clearly did the historical research and strove to find accurate historical equivalents for all elements. I liked Willy Decker's production of La traviata (except for the floral robes). I hated Micheal Mayers.

by Anonymousreply 3801/11/2021

so can the Met ever get back on it's feet financially? what say you DL?

by Anonymousreply 3901/11/2021

I saw Turandot at the Budapest Opera years ago. The theatre itself had been very grand but was shabby and badly in need of refurbishment. The production was ancient, too. The music and singing were terrific. The opera house was being refurbished when we were there last year.

by Anonymousreply 4001/11/2021

The James Ivory movie A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries is set in the 1960s. Jane Birkin takes her queenly teenage son Anthony Roth Costanzo and his little girlfriend Leelee Sobieski to the opera. There are mountains of cocaine and a transparent blow-up sofa on stage. Salome dies by injecting herself with a hypodermic syringe. Birkin and son love it, Sobieski is bemused and the French audience boos like it's a Johnny Depp vanity movie at Cannes.

by Anonymousreply 4101/11/2021

[quote] so can the Met ever get back on it's feet financially? what say you DL?

I don't know but I wish some radical cost-cutting measures can be made. I like the idea of high-quality TV broadcasting.

by Anonymousreply 4201/12/2021

R42, the cost cutting measures need to be done at the top. The problem with the MET, is that too much of the budget goes to admin. Before COVID, this was the leading cause for Arts Organizations closing.

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by Anonymousreply 4301/13/2021

I love opera but I have to admit that modern opera is just not good. The golden age of Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Franco Corelli etc is long gone. We will not be able to witness opera performance that is so good that the crowd goes crazy. The sopranos today sound like a rooster crowing on a glorious Sunday morning. That makes me sad.

by Anonymousreply 4401/13/2021

R44, I disagree. I am thrilled that "park and bark" is dead. Most of the old singers had gorgeous voices but were lousy actors. Opera is theater, not a semi-staged concert.

I saw an old MET production of Otello with some old war horse tenor I mercifully cannot remember and Renée Fleming. She was luminous. The rest of the cast simply faced front and sang loudly. The sets were old fashioned painted drops, the ballet was what gave Opera corps de ballet a bad name. It was an interesting visual of the old vs the new.

by Anonymousreply 4501/13/2021
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