Friday, September 5, 2014

Where opera should be heading

I do not think opera or classical music is a dying art form, though there are many with that mindset. It is an important question to ask ourselves however, how does opera stay relevant in today's over saturated market.   There is no denying that in the past few years many opera companies have closed or have come close to closing.  We have gotten to a point where it has become easier to write opera off as an expensive showcase for the one percent of the world. People say that opera is an art form for the wealthy and don't believe that it is relevant in today's market.  My belief is that us in the opera world have forgotten what opera is really about.  We have forgotten that at the heart of opera it was always an art form for the masses. Opera was about its story and that is why crowds of people flocked to opera as an outlet in its earliest of days. 

Lotte de Beer is someone trying to change today's image of opera.  She agrees that opera in its purest form is about the story.  She believes that opera is for everyone. While she doesn't think we should forget about the audience that opera already has, she isn't afraid of upsetting older audience members.  When she directs an opera, she strips it to its barest bones so that the story can shine through.  She did just this in her recent production of Cosi fan tutte.  Where she did away with the chorus, the expensive props and lighting and focused on the best way to tell the opera's story. She doesn't see the point for expensive wigs, lighting, huge ornate sets, if they don't help move the story along.  It is her belief that those older interpretations have become boring and are no longer relevant to opera audiences.

As the saturation of music, television and art become greater in each passing day, opera needs to find a way to make itself viable and draw new and old audience members to the theatre. We can no longer rely on old standbys if it only brings a few people to the theatre.  Ms. de Beer's goal is bringing newer generations to opera.  She wants to keep opera fresh and attainable without water down a beautiful art form.  

For more information please read
Breaking the Rules of Opera for a New Generation by Nina Siegal

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