LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 15.5

Help for OPERA-L Archives

OPERA-L Archives

OPERA-L Archives


Next Message | Previous Message
Next in Topic | Previous in Topic
Next by Same Author | Previous by Same Author
Chronologically | Most Recent First
Proportional Font | Monospaced Font


Join or Leave OPERA-L
Reply | Post New Message
Search Archives

Subject: Re: tosca
From: gordon young <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:gordon young <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:26:22 -0500

text/plain (199 lines)

Let me go through Mr. Cadenhead’s response to my comments on the Tosca that
has been under discussion. I am for innovation in opera and the other art
forms but I do not accept innovations that do not work and most in this
production didn’t work it seemed silly and sophomoric. I would say the same
thing about more traditional productions some work and some don’t.

Cadenhead’s obsession with his concept that Americans are stupid is
ridiculous. His contention that I and others “are not the least concerned
that America’s backwardness in this art means that creativity in opera
production is entirely a European function.” This might show that Frank has
not kept up with what is going on in the American opera scene. Even minor
opera companies in the U.S. are introducing new operas. The Fort Worth
opera festival is introducing two new operas and the Dallas Opera has
introduced a number of new operas over the last few years and next year
introduces a new opera “Sunken Garden” as well as Korngold’s “The Ring of
Polkrates”. I’ve heard that “Sunken Garden” will require the audience to
wear 3d glasses. Now that is innovative! Maybe.

If Mr. Cadenhead had responded to the points I made instead of digressing
to his travel plans to Bayreuth attempting to make that part of his
argument that America is out of touch with progressive ideas. Why do
European designers want to come to America if we are unable to understand
their brilliance? Most of the opera goers I know are open to innovation.
Not all innovations work and for me if there is a conceptual glitch in a
production, especially early on, I begin to see all of the conceptual

“We first see Floria Tosca as a vapid star…” yes Opolias was vapid but that
was the singer not the character. As I said in the post Frank is responding
to makeup might have helped in making Opolais Tosca. She is not an actress
and, for me, not a very interesting singer. I liked Angelotti entering in
handcuffs but maybe Cavaradossi could have removed them as, again for me,
they made his movements questionable. How could he have unlocked the chapel
with his hands behind his back? How could he have made it to the villa
without the use of his hands?

Because of the lack of the tenors acting skills Cavaradossi’s passion for
Tosca was never made clear. And Cavaradossi’s use of the computer was
limited to one movement towards the computer. The computer was a prop not
an idea and as I said the painting, or whatever it was supposed to be,
placed on the floor was problematic and the silly head placed at the back
on a wall made no sense as the painting seemed to be arbitrarily placed on
an irrelevant architectural space.

I know many female artists and art hags like chubby men but a sexier tenor
would have helped. The final act had no dramatic power which was the stage
directors fault and the singers.

Scarpia was probably the biggest problem for me as the directors entire
concept of him struck me as silly and clichéd. And his singing  … every
phrase began unfocused and out of pitch. Then his look … the black
fingernail polish … could anything be more clichéd? I could go on and on
pointing out the absurdities in the directors incomplete concept.

Updating an opera might take more than merely changing the visuals  it
might mean the musical language and the texts be changed to make them agree
with the concept.

On Sun, Apr 23, 2017 at 3:27 AM, Frank Cadenhead <[log in to unmask]>

> On Sat, 22 Apr 2017 14:59:11 -0500, gordon young
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >As an artist the depiction of art and art practices in opera always fail
> >maybe I should say generally fail. In Boheme if the is no visual reference
> >to Marcelo’s being an artist, no canvases or any of the clutter that makes
> >up an artist's studio I question every other aspect of the designers
> >concept.
> >
> >I don’t think I have ever seen a Tosca production where I accepted the
> >painting of the Magdalene. Most often the style of the painting ignores
> the
> >period in which the production is presented.
> = snip =
> It is a few weeks until the 54th anniversary of my first experience with a
> radical
> interpretation of a classic opera (Wieland's Tannhauser). It was difficult
> but I finally
> understood that it was reasonable that opera is an art that does not
> deserve to
> treated simply be a museum piece to be reproduced. This is certainly not
> what the
> composer would have wanted. All over the world opera has won new audiences
> by
> making the drama meaningful for their times. The idea that the last half
> century of
> opera production did not happen is something you only find on Opera-l.
> Gordon
> and others are not the least concerned that America’s backwardness in this
> art
> means that creativity in opera production is entirely a European function.
> Gordon,
> do you understand that no American opera producer is important outside our
> borders while, in every other art, American creativity and influence is
> everywhere
> honored and recognized?
> Let me take on Tosca - the story - with a personal experience. Two days
> ago, I
> used Google to explore transportation to Bayreuth this summer. That
> included both
> trains and flights to Munich and Nurenburg. Less than 12 hours later, an
> advertisement from a tourist group in Munich appeared on my Facebook
> margins.
> This was not a coincidence as anyone knows. What we also learned in recent
> news
> is that the government routinely penetrates the security of these giant
> internet
> companies and can access private accounts. In the particular case
> recently, the
> government knew that hackers had stolen their “keys” to get around internet
> companies security barriers late last year but it was only when the hacker
> material
> was released by Wikileaks that the public, and the internet giants, became
> aware
> of this. The government decided that it was not in the public interest for
> the public
> to know that their rights of privacy are totally abrogated and that
> protections in
> the Constitution of the United States are now obsolete. They are now more
> busy
> than ever shutting down Wikileaks.
> We first see Floria Tosca as a vapid star, happy, adored, invited
> everywhere, in love
> with a famous artist and clearly non-political but does anyone remember
> the FIRST
> THING that happens in the opera? Anyone? In the first seconds we see a
> fighter for
> freedom and justice fleeing persecution. Even Cavaradossi, also madly in
> love, had
> to be jolted back to remembering his love of basic human rights when he was
> confronted with Angelotti. But the real story is how Tosca reacts to this
> new reality.
> She remains vapid and jealous during the first act but it is only her
> confrontation
> with Ailes/O’Reilly (read Scarpia) that her moral compass starts spinning.
> She
> could allow the hand on her pussy - or not - and she chooses not. Her cris
> de cour
> (Visse d’arte) means she well understands that this will permanently upset
> her
> comfortable world. Her first sight of the knife on the floor also shows
> she now
> realizes how escape from an all-knowing authoritarian state requires
> extreme
> action. (They not only know when you buy your tickets, they know when you
> are
> even thinking about tickets.)
> Not relevant for today? You don’t understand why there are laptops around
> “security” services? Personal freedom and democracies are not only under
> threat
> but loosing ground. Today is a critical vote in France. Last Sunday Turkey
> voted to
> abandon the concept of liberal democracy. Russia has been moving away from
> that
> for years and their work to encourage and elect controlling state
> governments in
> other countries have been successful.
> I know all of you will be off soon to enjoy your Sunday. No, you do not
> have to
> think about Tosca today.
> Frank Cadenhead
> **********************************************
> OPERA-L on Facebook:
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
> containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
> [log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Modify your settings:
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------

OPERA-L on Facebook:
To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to [log in to unmask]
containing only the words:  SIGNOFF OPERA-L
To stay subscribed but TURN OFF mail, send a message to
[log in to unmask] containing only the words:  SET OPERA-L NOMAIL
Modify your settings:

Back to: Top of Message | Previous Page | Main OPERA-L Page



CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager