The Judgment of Paris Forum

Go Back   The Judgment of Paris Forum > 2004 > 2004: January - March
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 5th July 2005   #1
HSG
Administrator
 
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default "To seduce an audience into a different world"

(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, January 11th, 2004.)


The aesthetic restoration continues to revitalize the world of art, and the latest genre to feel its rejuvenating force is opera--a form which stands in dire need of such a rebirth.

Peruse, if you will, the following article about a new production of Carmen that is currently being staged in Seattle:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/classical/155827_clas09.html

As the article states,

it's practically radical that James Robinson's staging of the perennial favorite for Seattle Opera favors the original 19th-century setting and a more nuanced Carmen.

"Practically" radical? Today, in opera, creating a production that is in tune with the composer's own vision and world-view is not only the most radical approach that one can take, but it is indeed the only genuinely radical interpretation left. As the article correctly indicates, nothing is more conventional and cliched than self-consciously modern, "updated," and "politicized" productions, which have become the universal norm.

The director of this production makes a crucial point when he asserts that

"You can try to shock an audience on its terms, whatever that is. But I think that sort of falls flat. Or, you can try to seduce an audience into a very different world and show them how shocking this might have been."

How interesting and fitting that this "traditional" (and therefore genuinely maverick) production includes something which has also become extremely unfashionable in the world of opera--a lead who is "fuller figured."

"She always amazes me at how incredibly comfortable and beautiful and sexy she is to an audience," Robinson observes about his Carmen, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe. Undoubtedly, he finds her "amazing" because "comfortable and beautiful and sexy" full-figured women in our culture are almost as rare as are faithful productions of opera.

In another article about the production, this one from the Seattle Times, the writer makes the parallel between the timelessness of this staging and timelessness of the mezzo's appearance even more explicit:

She's a big, tall, voluptuous woman who probably is closer to the 19th-century ideal of beauty than are the size-2 actresses and celebrities who define our contemporary society's aesthetic.

We see here not only the congruence of the aesthetic restoration in feminine beauty with the aesthetic restoration in another art form, but also how those forces merge in the creation of an artwork that genuinely has the power to move an audience, to challenge their beliefs and stir their passions.

As opposed to modernist productions which do nothing but gratify the ego of their directors, and are little more than political morality plays in which artistry has been sacrificed to partisanship, faithful operatic productions can recover the obscured genius of the original creation, and reveal its true meaning. They enable us to assess our own world from an entirely different vantage point, and ponder whether we have lost something essential, something dangerous, something "larger than life"--as Blythe describes Carmen--in our modern world, and to consider what we might do to recover it.

"I become a better human being when this Bizet speaks to me." (Nietzsche)


Last edited by HSG : 31st December 2009 at 04:58.
HSG is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 20:15.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.