Gosh its an exciting time for opera. It seems the flurry of creativity that has propelled European houses has finally struck here in the States as well. Still wheeling from our recent grant award, I have spent all day working on other grant applications...hoping for a streak of luck. Still, I took a moment out to read this review of Mark Morris' "Orfeo" at the MET from the New Yorker.
The fact that Gelb and Mortier are now going to be competing for not only Morris, but other enfants terribles of the opera and theater world is very exciting and will produce great work for both companies. We can only hope that this fever for more relevancy in opera will spread outside of New York and to houses around the country. What is even more exciting is that this review was done from inside a cineplex and not at the opera house. I make no bones about the fact that I don't tend to like MET productions, in fact they represent almost everything I don't like about opera and very little of what I do. I certainly hope that Gelb will take a cue from the Frenchman across the plaza, but I also fear he will face an uphill battle with the old-guard of the MET. That said, I'm thrilled that his idea of broadcasting the MET into movie theaters around the country is a success. Much has been written about the possibility that this will hurt local companies. This is ridiculous. What it will do is challenge those company to raise their own creative bars. It won't be enough anymore to program Boheme and know the house will fill itself. No! Companies now will have to really explore their programing and their work inorder to create unique productions that audiences can't find at the cineplex, and that is very exciting. People will never give up the thrill of live performance and we shouldn't be afraid to rethink the wheel. Something even better might just be out there, one thought away.