Sunday, February 24, 2008

Don't Know Much About Opera...But He Do...

In this well-written article in today's NYT Sunday Magazine on the play/opera/musical director, Bart Sher, Alex Witchel extracts this gem from the now-so-hot stage director.

Witchel was discussing Mr. Sher's career while Mr. Sher was simulataneously sprucing up an opera at the "Metropolitan Opera in New York. “Barber of Seville” had returned to the repertory with a less-stellar cast than when it opened. Opera, unlike the theater, is an ongoing jigsaw of international scheduling that draws from a limited pool of performers who tend to sing the same roles no matter the company. The good news is that the singers arrive knowing the music. The bad news is they’ve sung it the same way for so long that they’re not willing to change much."

"Sher paid close attention to the recitatives between the arias. “This is exactly where everyone goes, ‘Zzzzzzz,’ ” he told me. “You need to get through all the plot and keep the audience engaged. What I don’t like about opera is that it starts and stops, you lose consciousness, then you’re back. I want it to be a sustained experience where you’re constantly being pulled in by the story, because by the time you get to the really great aria, you’re prepared. If the situation is clear, the singing is glorious.”

ZZZZZZ, Brother and Amen. Good luck to you, Mr. Sher.


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