Semi-staged opera is having its moment

Posted on: June 16, 2014

In Sunday’s (6/14) New York Times, Zachary Woolfe describes “a flurry of examples of what has come to be called semi-staged or staged-concert opera,” including a Carnegie Hall performance of Verdi’s Otello by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in which “There was no bedroom. There were no costumes.” After Desdemona’s “Ave Maria,” “Tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko, who had been seated during her scene, simply, slowly stood up, and the moment was far scarier than it had been in any full ‘Otello’ staging I’d seen at the Metropolitan or the Paris Opera…. [This] hybrid way of presenting the art form that has grown more popular as the economics of the art form have grown more challenging.” Among examples Woolfe cites are the Cleveland Orchestra’s The Cunning Little Vixen; the New York Philharmonic’s Le Grand Macabre and The Cunning Little Vixen; and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s recently completed cycle of Mozart’s three operas with the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, “with the décor—more like installations—by architects and the costumes by fashion designers.” Symphony magazine reported on this development in its fall 2013 issue.

Posted June 16, 2014