Maazel: “What has gone wrong in our beloved opera?”

Posted on: June 18, 2013

In “Opera Staging Madness,” a three-part series of Facebook posts from Friday to Monday (6/14, 6/16, and 6/17), Lorin Maazel writes, “At the risk of stating the obvious, of postulating the pedestrian, may I approach the subject of the staging and musical interpretation of an opera applying logic and common sense? An opera is a Gesamtkunstwerk.… The roles of both stage director and conductor are essentially custodial…. The egos of director and conductor (and his/her psychological problems) are never ever to come into play. An opera stage is not a psychiatrist’s couch.” Among Maazel’s cited examples of “Philistinism in present-day opera stagings” is Giorgio Strehler’s 1980 La Scala Falstaff, which turned “Shakespeare’s jocund reveler Falstaff into a retired sumo wrestler at a Caracas brothel…. What can be done to safeguard an endangered art form? … If you read that a new production at your favorite opera house will be given of La Bohème set in a Nepalese fish market with the Sex Pistols in the orchestra pit conducted by Sarah Palin, don’t go.”

Posted June 18, 2013