Here’s the maestro’s latest message on his Facebook page:
THE FALLOUT – Opera Staging Madness
I’m told some half a million people have read my comments carrying the title ‘Opera Staging Madness.’
Many people are grateful for the voice given their frustrations and disaffection. Most revealing are the comments I have received from singers who have borne the brunt of the excesses of stage directors.
Singers devote their lives to an art form that to a great degree depends for its very survival on that devotion. Much too often, they are ‘directed’ by stage directors who are insensitive to an important element in the Gesamtkunstwerk called opera, the music, are ignorant of the historical frame of the plot and disrespect the genius of both librettist and composer. Second-guessing Da Ponte or Verdi can only lead to a futile flailing about.
General Managers must seek to reinforce the art form of which they are caretakers by engaging those who believe in it. Every art form, to survive, must be refreshed by innovative, truly inventive approaches. One need not desecrate it in the process.
So many readers feel disenfranchised by the inept and inappropriate staging. They are happy to hear that the audience does have the last say. The abused casts would so welcome the singers’ true voice being heard .
So…don’t be reticent.
If you feel seeing Desdemona urinate doesn’t help you better to comprehend the subtleties of her spirit, speak up on YouTube, walk out (quietly), tell your friends. If you find seeing Don Jose’ playing a video game as he blow-torches Carmen doesn’t give you a deeper insight into his mindset, speak out on Twitter, walk out (quietly), tell your friends.
Opera needs your help…and soon!