Thursday, July 23, 2009
I am going to take a moment to talk a bit about regional opera in general, and not auditioning per se. I am moved to do this, because recent events here in Milwaukee have created a lot of commentary - one of the side streams that has arisen on the blogs has to do with the theory that somehow producing regional opera today is some sort of instant exercise - opera in a box if you will. It has been contrasted with theatre, where supposedly there is much more care taken with production and casting. I have no doubt that this was indeed the case in past days, but the theory simply doesn't hold much water today. Regional opera today is a fertile breeding ground for new work, new productions, inventive casting, and ground breaking use of technology. I need only mention such companies as Glimmerglass, Santa Fe, Houston Grand Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Ft. Worth Opera, Nashville Opera, and the Florentine to point out some examples. These companies regularly hire exciting singing actors, premiere new work, and make use of the latest technologies. For instance: Ft. Worth Opera did the world premiere of Pasatieri's Frau Margot, and then followed that up with Angels in America, and will premiere Martin's Before Night Falls next season. Nashville Opera gave the world premiere of Elmer Gantry (which we are doing this season), and they will do Glass' Fall of the House of Usher this year. In 2010, we are doing the world premiere of Don Davis' Rio de Sangre (Mr. Davis wrote the music to all three of the Matrix films). The examples at Houston, Glimmerglass and Opera Theatre of St. Louis are too numerous to list. Opera in a Box, Instant Opera and Cookie Cutter opera are fast becoming things of the past. And I guess in a round about way that has everything to do with auditions.