Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Question of Regie??

Regietheater (German for director's theater or producer's theater) is a term that refers to the modern (mainly post-World War II) practice of allowing a director (or producer) freedom in devising the way a given opera (or play) is staged so that the composer's original, specific stage directions (where supplied) can be changed, together with major elements of geographical location, chronological situation, casting and plot. (From Wikipedia)
Sometimes called Modern Opera Productions. But what does one really want from an opera production?

Who creates an opera? We have the composer and the librettist, of course. Then we have the singers, the orchestra and the conductor. The we have the theatre director, the costume designer, the scenographer. Then it all has be backed up by the opera house or theatre and its management.

I have often thought that the perfect opera is when one does not notice the conductor because the music flows so naturally and when one does not notice the director because it all happens so real and natural onstage. And it is perfect when one just simply accept how the stage is without realizing there have to be someone behind it (the scenographer). And the same about the costumes it all seems to be right for the persons and situations.

That idea is simply more for the Tradional Opera Production.

What about the Modern Opera Productions? Does it have to be crap? Offensive?

Crap: Opera directors that superimpose their own ideas unto the opera so that the opera and the actions in the opera are even more stupid than ever. Offensive: Opera director puts a lot of sex, rape, racism etc. into the opera without much thought of how it effects the understanding of the opera. Sometimes too much thought has been on the offensive elements and too little on the rest. Sometime it is just too much, too often.

Does the opera director analyze the opera first? A thorough analysis of the work could have made opera productions even better. Modern of Tradional, who cares? I just want it to be good (??). There are so many elements in an opera. It is really different than straight theatre, but it is THEATRE even if it is OPERA. The text needs to be analyzed, who are the persons, their relation to each other, the time and expectations of that time. The music needs to be analyzed, eg. what does that clarinet solo mean before the tenor sings... Scenography, what needs to be present in that scene so that it can play out. The action in the opera plays out in what time in history, what is important to know in order to be true to the time and the opera.

Updating the opera? How and when, and what time would it be appropriate to put it in? Lazy thinking here, and the opera might just fall flat. Deep thinking and maybe it could be the Greatest Opera Production. Partially updating the opera? Just put modern cloths on, it is cheaper than an 1500th century extravaganza. Could work.

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