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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    R.I.P. Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a master of the Baroque revival, who died yesterday at the age of 86.
    An interesting fact has emerged since Harnoncourt's death. Salzburg has admitted that it agreed to a demand from von Karajan that Harnoncourt would not conduct there in von Karajan's lifetime.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    More trouble at t'mill with ROH's new Lucia di Lammermoor. The Daily Mail loves a good gloat.

    Kasper Holten defends his warning about sex and violence in his comment on here. The warning email is a bit late though because you only get the email if you've bought a ticket.

    I'm not going but personally I think too much graphic sex and violence would be a distraction. The fact that a bloodstained Lucia interrupts the party is enough for me and I'm quite happy with my own imagination.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    ROH's information on their new production of Lucia di Lammermoor from their website (the two comments are interesting).

    I watched the live stream of the Insight and didn't like Katie Mitchell. She gave the impression she just wanted to shock people with her version.

    Last edited by Ann Lander (sospiro); March 16th, 2016 at 07:23 AM.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Wow. I'm not sure what to say, except maybe we need a new category of opera production. In addition to "traditional" and "Regie", maybe we should add "Horror". It seems the only thing missing from some productions are Jason (from the "Friday the 13th" films) and Freddie Krueger (from "Nightmare on Elm Street") - btw, I had to look these up...

    We all know there are problems with filling opera house seats these days, not to mention the rapid graying of the existing audience, but it doesn't seem feasible that exploiting horror themes are going to bring in more than a few of the curious - while offending larger numbers of the existing audience who likely will stay at home at the same time.

    Lucia di Lammermoor is a sublime opera and the startling image of the post-murder, bloodied Lucia making her entrance at the wedding party has been enough for audiences over the last 100+ years, I don't think that shock and awe (as we like to say here in the U.S. on occasion) is going to provide a successful approach over the long run. Thinking about that seemingly awful Deutsche Oper am Rhein Tannhäuser production that was so shocking that it ended up being sung in concert should have been a warning.

  8. #1655
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post


    Wow. I'm not sure what to say, except maybe we need a new category of opera production. In addition to "traditional" and "Regie", maybe we should add "Horror". It seems the only thing missing from some productions are Jason (from the "Friday the 13th" films) and Freddie Krueger (from "Nightmare on Elm Street") - btw, I had to look these up...

    We all know there are problems with filling opera house seats these days, not to mention the rapid graying of the existing audience, but it doesn't seem feasible that exploiting horror themes are going to bring in more than a few of the curious - while offending larger numbers of the existing audience who likely will stay at home at the same time.

    Lucia di Lammermoor is a sublime opera and the startling image of the post-murder, bloodied Lucia making her entrance at the wedding party has been enough for audiences over the last 100+ years, I don't think that shock and awe (as we like to say here in the U.S. on occasion) is going to provide a successful approach over the long run. Thinking about that seemingly awful Deutsche Oper am Rhein Tannhäuser production that was so shocking that it ended up being sung in concert should have been a warning.
    I suppose I'm in the neutral camp when it comes to direction. I like operas being updated and set somewhere new but remaining true to the story and the feel of the original. Shocking and horrifying the audience is all well and good but adding something can effectively takeaway at this point. Then again one of my favourite stagings is the ROH Suor Angelica by Richard Jones which doesn't have the miracle in the same way at the end but manages to change without straying from the emotions or story meant to be conveyed too much. Katie Mitchell's direction in Written on Skin was very good however so I am interested to see if she will be Benjamin's first choice for the 2018 opera.
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post


    Wow. I'm not sure what to say, except maybe we need a new category of opera production. In addition to "traditional" and "Regie", maybe we should add "Horror". It seems the only thing missing from some productions are Jason (from the "Friday the 13th" films) and Freddie Krueger (from "Nightmare on Elm Street") - btw, I had to look these up...

    We all know there are problems with filling opera house seats these days, not to mention the rapid graying of the existing audience, but it doesn't seem feasible that exploiting horror themes are going to bring in more than a few of the curious - while offending larger numbers of the existing audience who likely will stay at home at the same time.

    Lucia di Lammermoor is a sublime opera and the startling image of the post-murder, bloodied Lucia making her entrance at the wedding party has been enough for audiences over the last 100+ years, I don't think that shock and awe (as we like to say here in the U.S. on occasion) is going to provide a successful approach over the long run. Thinking about that seemingly awful Deutsche Oper am Rhein Tannhäuser production that was so shocking that it ended up being sung in concert should have been a warning.
    I agree.

    Apparently Katie Mitchell seems to think that Alisa has a much bigger role than Donizetti wrote for her. Lucia isn't strong enough to kill Arturo herself so Katie has Lucia enlisting Alisa's help and the two of them batter Arturo to death.

    Daily Telegraph's view

    More on this controversial play.

    "If the audience faints, our play is doing its job,' says fight director of controversial play."
    Last edited by Ann Lander (sospiro); March 16th, 2016 at 04:08 PM.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
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  10. #1657
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Povero Buoso View Post
    Katie Mitchell's direction in Written on Skin was very good however so I am interested to see if she will be Benjamin's first choice for the 2018 opera.
    I personally think it's very likely that Benjamin will stick with his winning team. Certainly the librettist will be the same, and he was very grateful to Katie for realizing his vision.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    This is an interesting discussion and you all know that usually I'm not for what I call "extreme Regie" and also I'm strongly against plot changes and addition of scenes or characters that are not in the original opera.

    However I confess that I'm intrigued. I find it interesting that the extra scenes are done using split stage, so they happen simultaneously, but not inside the scenes that are developing according to Donizetti's music. This could be clever, indeed.

    I recently taught a class at Duke University for residents in psychiatry, using Lucia di Lammermoor as a demonstration tool to discuss the differential diagnosis of her mad scene. I played the entire opera to the residents, and then a week later we met to discuss the psychiatric aspects of it. We looked at the historical materials (the story of real-life events that inspired Sir Walter Scott), we looked at the novel itself, and at the opera, with the full libretto in Italian and English translation available to the residents.

    So, we speculated a lot about what happened in the murder scene. We wanted to explore what caused Lucia's madness. We reached several conclusions, from the psychiatric and neurological standpoints.

    Therefore I'd be highly curious to know what Ms. Mitchell came up with.

    Sure, I tend to be partial to artists who get interviewed by Opera Lively. I tend to consider them under more favorable lights after I speak with them.

    But even without this bias, I do believe that Ms. Mitchell is a very talented stage director.

    Sure, it does seem like she pushed on the gas regarding sex and violence. But I'd like to bring up that Lucia *is* about sex and violence. It does lend itself to a feminist approach, because there is no denial that extreme violence was done to Lucia (and remember, to a real woman who was the real-life person whose story is told in the novel). The way she is forced by her family into an arranged marriage while loving another man, and subjected to the wedding night with a man she doesn't want, is indeed disturbing as a sort of family-sponsored rape, so it might be very acceptable to stage it in a disturbing way, especially if the opera as written does go on unchanged on the other side of the stage.

    The opera is indeed inserted into a larger context of a historical novel and real-life events, so I do find it acceptable that the larger context gets further explored in Ms. Mitchell's staging.

    For a psychiatrist like me, it will be interesting to see this staging, to say the least. I hope it gets released on DVD since at this time I can't go to London to see it. Two of the artists are our former interviewees, and I especially enjoy a good contact with Diana Damrau so I could try to collect her thoughts about this show, and might try the same with Stephen Costello (whose interview I've finally transcribed and sent to him).

    The trailer looks gorgeous, with this black-and-white cinematography.

    Before we get too indignant about tampering with Donizetti's masterpiece, we might suspend judgment, if this proves to be a phenomenally interesting production.

    Every time I am strongly against a Regie production, I always say that it all depends on talent and lack thereof. Ms. Mitchell has proved extensively that she does have talent, so, maybe this staging will be superb. We'll see.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); March 17th, 2016 at 01:18 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    I don't know, Luiz, you might be right.

    I have to say, though, that I hope you are not. Ms. Mitchell might well be exceptionally talented, but I think in theater, that true talent frequently is on display when less is shown - but the point still is made. Take for example, the staging of Wagner's operas at Bayreuth when it re-opened after WW II. Fans were accustomed to productions following the naturalistic instructions of Wagner himself, but Wieland Wagner understood that the credibility of Bayreuth, what with its reputation for cozying up with Hitler during the Third Reich, was on the line. So, he staged the operas in a highly abstract style that I believe may have been unpopular at first, but ultimately was seen as a highly successful production style.

    I understand your point and your interest and don't dispute your thesis. I am suggesting that, with talent, less can be more. Without being indignant (I would not stay home in protest), I, personally, don't need to see highly representational sexual and interpersonal violence on stage (it makes me very uncomfortable) - whether it's true to the period and situation or not, as a means of emphasizing the drama of an opera plot - the music serves that purpose.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    This is an interesting discussion and you all know that usually I'm not for what I call "extreme Regie" and also I'm strongly against plot changes and addition of scenes or characters that are not in the original opera.

    However I confess that I'm intrigued. I find it interesting that the extra scenes are done using split stage, so they happen simultaneously, but not inside the scenes that are developing according to Donizetti's music. This could be clever, indeed.

    I recently taught a class at Duke University for residents in psychiatry, using Lucia di Lammermoor as a demonstration tool to discuss the differential diagnosis of her mad scene. I played the entire opera to the residents, and then a week later we met to discuss the psychiatric aspects of it. We looked at the historical materials (the story of real-life events that inspired Sir Walter Scott), we looked at the novel itself, and at the opera, with the full libretto in Italian and English translation available to the residents.

    So, we speculated a lot about what happened in the murder scene. We wanted to explore what caused Lucia's madness. We reached several conclusions, from the psychiatric and neurological standpoints.

    Therefore I'd be highly curious to know what Ms. Mitchell came up with.

    Sure, I tend to be partial to artists who get interviewed by Opera Lively. I tend to consider them under more favorable lights after I speak with them.

    But even without this bias, I do believe that Ms. Mitchell is a very talented stage director.

    Sure, it does seem like she pushed on the gas regarding sex and violence. But I'd like to bring up that Lucia *is* about sex and violence. It does lend itself to a feminist approach, because there is no denial that extreme violence was done to Lucia (and remember, to a real woman who was the real-life person whose story is told in the novel). The way she is forced by her family into an arranged marriage while loving another man, and subjected to the wedding night with a man she doesn't want, is indeed disturbing as a sort of family-sponsored rape, so it might be very acceptable to stage it in a disturbing way, especially if the opera as written does go on unchanged on the other side of the stage.

    The opera is indeed inserted into a larger context of a historical novel and real-life events, so I do find it acceptable that the larger context gets further explored in Ms. Mitchell's staging.

    For a psychiatrist like me, it will be interesting to see this staging, to say the least. I hope it gets released on DVD since at this time I can't go to London to see it. Two of the artists are our former interviewees, and I especially enjoy a good contact with Diana Damrau so I could try to collect her thoughts about this show, and might try the same with Stephen Costello (whose interview I've finally transcribed and sent to him).

    The trailer looks gorgeous, with this black-and-white cinematography.

    Before we get too indignant about tampering with Donizetti's masterpiece, we might suspend judgment, if this proves to be a phenomenally interesting production.

    Every time I am strongly against a Regie production, I always say that it all depends on talent and lack thereof. Ms. Mitchell has proved extensively that she does have talent, so, maybe this staging will be superb. We'll see.
    Apparently some people are now asking for refunds.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...roduction.html

    I've read up a bit more on Ms Mitchell and she's certainly divisive. She altered the text of The Seagull so much, it couldn't be regarded as Chekov.

    http://www.theguardian.com/stage/201...-katie-mitchel
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); March 17th, 2016 at 01:19 PM. Reason: just fixed a couple of typos in my quote
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Any other business that repeatedly tried to offend its customers wouldn't remain in business very long.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Apparently some people are now asking for refunds.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...roduction.html

    I've read up a bit more on Ms Mitchell and she's certainly divisive. She altered the text of The Seagull so much, it couldn't be regarded as Chekov.

    http://www.theguardian.com/stage/201...-katie-mitchel
    Well, this is the very definition of prejudice by Mr. Michael Dalay (pre = before the fact; judice = judgment): "We know the sex and violence will seem gratuitous." How does he know that, *before* seeing the production? The opera house has said that these scenes haven't even been fully developed yet. They are merely warning the audience not to bring children because the staging has adult material. What's wrong with that? It's akin to a film rating in order to guide parents about the presence or absence of adult content. Can't these operagoers, supposedly adults, handle some adult content? The opera house is also implying, "prudes, stay away." Again, it's the very same concept of film ratings; here in the US they come with a line about what content is in question. Nobody is forcing anybody at gunpoint to attend a film or an opera. If they can't handle the content, don't go. Simple. But they shouldn't try to shut down a production they haven't even seen yet, preventing other people who are fine with the adult content, from seeing it. Mister Dalay says that Ms. Mitchell is trying to make the audience become voyeurs. Really? Speak for yourself, buddy. Like I said, my interest would be to verify the psychiatric aspects of Lucia's descent into madness, and see what solutions Ms. Mitchell found in order to depict what she goes through, in split stage, without changing Donizetti's opera on the other side of the stage.

    And it seems like while 40 people asked for refunds, there is this: "Despite concerns, ticket sales are understood to be buoyant."

    OK, sure, I probably wouldn't approve of the altered text in The Seagull, but clearly this is not what is going on in this Lucia, since the article does make reference to the fact that the opera as written goes on undisturbed on the other half of the stage. I do find this to be a clever solution to the issue of showing more than what is in the piece: a director wants to explore the context of the opera and then divides the stage in two. Could be brilliant.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    ... see what solutions Ms. Mitchell found in order to depict what she goes through, in split stage, without changing Donizetti's opera on the other side of the stage.
    I can only speak for myself but I would find this split stage too distracting (I am a bear of very little brain ... ).

    For me it would be similar to the 'younger selves' Eugene Onegin. I found myself looking at the dancer (the younger self) and then to the singer and then back again etc etc. Was like watching tennis and by the time my brain had taken in what was happening, the scene was over and I felt cheated. I wanted to watch Simon Keenlyside act and sing at the same time.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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  22. #1664
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post

    For me it would be similar to the 'younger selves' Eugene Onegin.
    Ugh that production wasn't too ambitious just really quite bad when i saw it with Dimitri in the winter. A shame cause all of the other aspects except the staging were magnificent.
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Well, this is the very definition of prejudice by Mr. Michael Dalay (pre = before the fact; judice = judgment): "We know the sex and violence will seem gratuitous." How does he know that, *before* seeing the production? The opera house has said that these scenes haven't even been fully developed yet. They are merely warning the audience not to bring children because the staging has adult material. What's wrong with that? It's akin to a film rating in order to guide parents about the presence or absence of adult content. Can't these operagoers, supposedly adults, handle some adult content? The opera house is also implying, "prudes, stay away." Again, it's the very same concept of film ratings; here in the US they come with a line about what content is in question. Nobody is forcing anybody at gunpoint to attend a film or an opera. If they can't handle the content, don't go. Simple. But they shouldn't try to shut down a production they haven't even seen yet, preventing other people who are fine with the adult content, from seeing it. Mister Dalay says that Ms. Mitchell is trying to make the audience become voyeurs. Really? Speak for yourself, buddy. Like I said, my interest would be to verify the psychiatric aspects of Lucia's descent into madness, and see what solutions Ms. Mitchell found in order to depict what she goes through, in split stage, without changing Donizetti's opera on the other side of the stage.

    And it seems like while 40 people asked for refunds, there is this: "Despite concerns, ticket sales are understood to be buoyant."

    OK, sure, I probably wouldn't approve of the altered text in The Seagull, but clearly this is not what is going on in this Lucia, since the article does make reference to the fact that the opera as written goes on undisturbed on the other half of the stage. I do find this to be a clever solution to the issue of showing more than what is in the piece: a director wants to explore the context of the opera and then divides the stage in two. Could be brilliant.
    I would definitely want to see it. I loved the "geriatric selves" Alcina at Aix, as well of course as Written on Skin.
    Natalie

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