Jonathan Miller: 'Doing Opera'
Last Edit: LynnB 10:03 am EST 11/28/19
Posted by: LynnB 10:02 am EST 11/28/19
In reply to: re: Miller's "Long Day's Journey..." with Jack Lemmon - Michael_Portantiere 09:29 am EST 11/28/19

The New York Review of Books has republished an article Jonathan Miller wrote for their May 2000 issue. It's a brilliant discussion of why and how a director (aka 'producer') should think about 'updating' an opera. What he says is equally applicable to plays. I've posted a link below.

A tiny excerpt:

"[...] unless you’re a naive traditionalist, there is something inescapably problematic about reviving operas from the distant past. But it’s a question of thoughtfulness rather than theory.

"'Figaro' for example is too delicate to bear the weight of a “concept,” especially if it encourages the producer to illustrate the corruption of the period or to represent the hero as a sans-culotte manqué who knows that his master’s days are numbered. As with The Cherry Orchard, the characters’ blissful ignorance of the forthcoming revolution lends the opera an irresistible autumnal melancholy, which the audience supplies without having to be didactically nudged. And as for the supposedly invidious social relationships, they speak for themselves, as long as the producer has taken the trouble to represent the now well-documented details of domestic life in an aristocratic household."
Link https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2000/05/11/doing-opera/

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