Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's hard not to like Domingo

Well, that's not entirely fair: his German pronunciation is not always what I would like. Listen to , oh, say, James King or Wolfgang Windgassen for my idea of good German, but I digress.

The ever-wonderful Mostly Opera has excerpts from an interview with Plácido Domingo. Here is one quote I find interesting and, mostly, appropriate:
Does anyone seriously believe that Verdi imagined Rigoletto at a monkey planet or that Mozart would have been delighted to see his operas as the zeitgeist of the 21st Century? And have those responsible for radically new interpretation of the established masterpieces ever thought, that perhaps they are the ones jeopardizing the future of opera?

These millions [used on semi-innovative opera productions] should instead be used to get something really new. In short, new works for both the eye, ear and intellect. To avoid misunderstandings: I have nothing against innovative staging approaches to masterpieces of the operatic literature, as long as they are tastefully executed and with talent behind. In Los Angeles, for example, William Friedkin set the prelude in "Ariadne auf Naxos" in the Malibu villa of a filmmaker. It was a great idea with which the audience could relate immediately... So what makes one "upgrade" acceptable and another not? It is the way a production is formed and how it is implemented. Whether talent and empathy is obvious and whether it becomes clear why it it is set in another era.
If anyone has an opinion, then it should be Domingo. He is now, probably, the king of the tenors. He is also a decent actor and administrator. He is, I am sure, quite familiar with the good, the bad, and the ugly in the musical world of today. It is refreshing to hear that he has a realistic view of the extreme side of most productions.


At 1:28 AM, Blogger daland said...

Luckily, Domingo is not alone...

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Chester said...

No. No. No.
Verdi and Mozart would be happy to see their operas all.
The people deciding to spend money on another production of Rigoletto instead of commissioning a new opera are certainly not the opera directors/production designers.
Also, spare me the appeal to "taste."
I could blame the loss of audience (if there is even one) on "tasteful" performers and dull productions rather than impassioned ones.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

If they could see what has been done to their original concepts?

I doubt it. If they could conceive of some of these wild productions, I doubt they would have even the slightest use for them. These works are products of their time and for all time.

As to taste: No one goes to a concert or production to have their sensibilities offended. Indeed, even fewer people go to be outright mocked and insulted.


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