Archive for the ‘Rough and Regie’ Category

Want not

By: James Jorden Our old friend Heather Mac Donald is back, ostensibly to mourn the loss of “Petrarchan intimacy with the past“ in the study of the humanities, but, reliably enough, she can’t help taking a swipe at Regietheater while she’s at it. Now, my contact with academia has been scarce and spotty since I […]

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Being in Bayreuth

There’s a remarkable synergy about the Bayreuth Festival: it’s not just the theater, or the performers, or the programming or even the “mission,” considered broadly.

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Safe and sorry

It may have been Robert A. Heinlein or Napoleon Bonaparte who first crafted that variation on Occam’s Razor “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

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Then is now

With one of my favorite opera productions returning to the Met tonight, I’ve been considering lately what makes Willy Decker’s Traviata so fine, so satisfying, and so worth a return visit.

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Bridging the Gap

One of the things I’m gradually learning as I’m coming up my the 20th anniversary of writing about opera for publication is that you have to be wary about making Pronouncements, because no matter how obvious or intuitive a hard-and-fast rule seems to be, if you write it down where people can find it, one of these days it’s going to embarrass you.

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Leading lady

By James Jorden One thing you can’t call David McVicar is inept. His productions always work with precision, every movement landing everyone in the right place at the right time, every “still” moment photo-ready. Reportedly he brings shows in on budget and on time, and there’s never a last-minute scramble to improvise some kind of […]

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Plonk

By James Jorden Of hundreds of juicy anecdotes in Ken Mandelbaum’s indispensable volume Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Flops, one stands out perhaps a little more than the others. It’s about a show called Reuben Reuben which closed out of town in 1955. This was a through-composed absurdist piece by Mark Blitzstein, and […]

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Water works

By James Jorden Most arts-related technology is at least slightly Jekyll-and-Hyde in its implementation, no matter how optimistic the intentions of its creator. For an example of the phenomenon, you need look no farther thafn Robert Lepage‘s Ring, clanking its way back to the stage of the Met this week. Amazing tech, that: all those […]

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Twilight of the Machine

By James Jorden Revelation comes in the strangest places. Like, for example, I had this eventual moment of clarity about what it was that went wrong in the Lepage Ring, and what do you think sparked it? Of all things, last night’s performance of Ernani at the Met. 

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What went wrong?

By James Jorden After putting off for a week trying to make some sense of the horrific mess that is the Met’s new Faust, I’m finally just going to give up. There are some disasters that bear writing about as what you might call teaching opportunities: this season’s Don Giovanni, for example, as a cautionary […]

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