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It’s not about baroque music or
romantic music, or anything, it’s about… …showing why we love it and how… …this is affecting people’s life. This is basically it. If people don’t connect to it emotionally and connect to the way we love it so much… and have all the passion about it… …if people don’t understand, if we
can’t make them understand… We shouldn’t do it any more. Opera is an old art form – – it’s hundreds of years old. But that cannot stop us from evolving
into the future. We have to evolve, we cannot be completely
imprisoned by tradition. We have to look forward and do something… …that is meaningful and breaks with traditions. That’s how I feel about the heritage: it’s rich, we
don’t need to get rid of it. But we need to hold ourselves
to a higher standard. To the same standard that film is at, that dance is at. We can’t pretend that opera is… …is still playing by the rules of 50 year ago. It shouldn’t stay that the academics
continue to drive what good composition is in Europe
and North America. Because we know that the public is
disconnected from that. And opera is a public form so… I love that right now we are getting
to unearth kind of… the heart of what we care about in opera – – not what we care about in opera houses. In my opinion, the biggest challenge is: What do we want opera to be? Do we want opera as a museum art form? Completely retrospective? Or do we want opera as a living art form that would give sense to our world? For me, the answer is very clear. As a stage director the cultural heritage is like a big playground. Theatre is actually playing, it’s not
like a philosophy. It is something… You should be immediately
touch by it. Also without too much reading, too much preparation. So I think… it’s not a weight. but it’s like a… …a big garden where you can collect and reinvent and mix various things.

5 thoughts on “IS OPERA HERITAGE A BURDEN? – World Opera Forum Short Film

  1. Opera is not a burden but it can be a cultural burden even around people known to accept it. I started in professional opera with a role at 19 in large company, and sang each year thereafter with a few offers. Another burden lies in how opera is underwritten and what kind of authority they have, which leads to the question: Who is professional? Who has all the qualities, truly able, professional, experienced, knowledgeable, educated, and objective. Who determines this? How are we protected? The burden is all around. But, OPERA is the greatest, and people love it when it's done properly. Human Resources is a department that should be in every opera house before it is handed to types that don't handle things well. It was Royal Opera House, Covent Garden who gave me confidence that my experience was sufficient to be an Opera Producer even at a house of that caliber. Who is a true authority with the disposition to pull the Art off right? Any burden will ease with the right people, and the right choices that will assuage personal discomfort.

  2. And, by the way, I worked as a temporary in Human Resources in New York (Queens) Citibank, three days after I settled in, and before that had been at The Peabody in Memphis in that temp capacity. It lends a bit of discretion to how we choose people. There is an objective criteria, even to singing which is to be learned without any room for guessing.

  3. My third comment. At it's very heart, a race is merely the result of a set of circumstances; ecological circumstances bringing forth genes to deal with whatever environmental burdens the group shares in their part of the world racing for selection, natural selection over many years. We living; we alive are all worthy for we are from those who passed the test. BUT! Society, is quite another matter. We live in Society, and that passes mere civilization and all civility objectively implies. We can choose, own, determine, not just work (slave). I remember as a child, being born after civil rights the lingering vibes that we become what the White World establishes; OPERA was one of the professions that sat upon a rich social order and heritage; we aspired to it, and achieved through it, for who cared if one liked opera or not. We didn't have to relate. Black is up there, well hey, hey! Black in a Leontyne Price for example at the MET in 1961 as Leonora. Someone called her debut social AND artistic, whereas Marian Anderson's debut was considered merely social. I happened to think Marian was DIVINE as Ulrica artistically so much with her training and voice that it takes one's breath away. The point is, as an active singer for so many years in roles from official cover at major opera houses to primo tenore and title roles, my recent/current colleagues (tho' I was the baby always) were on the page of Price and Anderson. I think to love opera as I do, you've got to love the people who made it, and the world with it for opera is international and still is great. You've got to truly relate to the ever current situations that occur in opera. They are real as evolution. If we can get past the SOCIAL, we may at last join the ARTISTIC. regards, KJ

  4. If one knew the burden I type with on this old thing, falling down, rolling over they would pardon me for acting like some great scholar writing and re-writing, but I wanted to be clear. No doubt my comment below from just a few minutes ago deals mostly with a certain generation, and that may include ours (20-50s) — I think opera is a very fine work of Art, and a great opera house is one of the joys of living.

  5. But, you know if we start judging things prematurely, I'll get hazed. The subject is Heritage. As for the social aspects I wrote of, it is the social aspects that are equal to me, today. I wouldn't want to eradicate the social at all. Opera represents something really elite, and it can't help itself. I don't expect that to change in the next 4,000 years. I believe in museum opera as much as avant garde. I believe in modern opera. I believe in the era from renaissance to romantic and post-modern. I believe in architecture. I believe in dating and romance, and the old world. Yes, but one must start there. One must believe in opera, and that is not too hard to come by unless you deal with the wrong people in society.

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