1, 2, 3, 4, I Delcare An Opera War!

Goodness gracious! Is there a war brewing at the Times?

Mr. Kozinn is writing about the new Alice in Wonderland opera by Peter Westergaard:

Mr. Westergaard, meanwhile, has finished a seventh [opera], “The Always Present Present.” You have to admire and wonder at his tenacity, given that contemporary opera is a futile pursuit.

Futile? Wow! Strong language.

Listeners who care about opera clamor for new ones, but with few exceptions — works by John Adams and Philip Glass mainly — when they are produced, they please neither audiences, critics nor singers and are rarely seen again.

I guess making exceptions to your own staments proves your point?

Companies may be balancing their books by showing 19th- and early-20th-century favorites, but as a developing form, opera’s EKG is flatlining.

Flatlining, yikes. That sounds dire! What say you, Anthony Tommasini? Mr. Tommasini is writing about the new season of the New York City Opera:

A season focused on formidable 20th-century works will excite many opera lovers, including me.

Oh, snap! Take that, Kozinn!

The programming makes a statement that a people’s opera does not have to play it safe and be afraid to challenge audiences.

Quite so, sir. Flatlined, pfft!

Besides, over the last couple of seasons at the City Opera, disappointing box-office receipts for standard fare have indicated that the company cannot rely on appealing productions of “Carmen” to keep the lights on.

Challenge the people and they shall come.

I encourage readers to read (uh, what?) the entirety of both articles.


AnthonyS said...

Ha! Great find. More new opera is going up today than ever. Once again, the "'x' is a dead/dying art form".

New operas on the docket from Wuorinen, Danielpour, Larsen, Golijov, Marsalis, etc... plus tons of new programs for developing opera composers and librettists that didn't exist ten years ago... I would wager that contemporary opera is much healthier than most.

JennieJ said...

I'm actually grateful that he made the comment. Might get us a little extra publicity through a tad bit of controversy. Alice was a joy to work on, and I'm glad that he seemed to like it in spite of the idiotic remark about modern opera being futile. The truth is that there is an entire market of young, intelligent folk out there that live for this stuff. Then again I may be biased, having been Alice ;)

Empiricus said...

Well, I hope his statements indeed boost publicity, too, since it does little else other than codify the familiar. Thanks for the comment! Break a leg!

Sator Arepo said...


What E said goes for me too.


JennieJ said...

Thanks. Legs were broken last week... we are hoping to break more at more venues, but we need to find them first!