Louise T. Guinther, complains in the Coda – back page of Opera News, of not being able to appreciate the latest trends in opera productions, known in the opera world as Regietheater.
The term is always italicized since it is German, means Director’s Theater, and refers to the modern practice of modernizing opera productions, an in effort to make them more relevant to modern audiences.
She’s not alone, IFO is among those who agree, but she is singularly graceful in her description of her love of traditional opera productions and her problems with modernized versions.
See, for example, just one of many complaints about the practice: http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_urbanities-regietheater.html, “Can the Met stand firm against the trashy productions of trendy nihilists?” Summer 2007, by Heather MacDonald.
We’ll never forget, though we would like to, how Opera Zurich ruined Tales of Hoffman. Did the director even read the libretto??? The characters listening to Hoffman at the beginning of the opera were his fellow students, not aged operagoers in fancy dress. And what was a statue of a horse doing on the stage??? The music and singing were good though.
Guinther concludes with these lovely words:
“As opera hurtles headlong into a future
hardly recognizable to many of its fans,
I’m not sure whether I’ve stayed on
past my stop or missed the bus altogether.
Perhaps if I remain in my seat, I’ll arrive at
some new place that will bring
its own kind of fulfillment.”