Thursday, December 06, 2007
The true future of opera
'As a by-product, this development will put an end to today's star system. The indispensable quality of "stardom" is its rarity. But, on the one hand, the difference between a star and a non-star performance will not be tolerated much longer by a growingly knowledgeable public. On the other, the stars themselves will fade. Even now, their strength is being progressively dissipated by the incredible fatigue of their enforced nomadic life, and in the end they will be unable to deliver what is expected of them.
The true future of opera lies in the ensemble principle, by which I mean well-matched ensembles of fine singers working together and staying together. This mode of organisation has never completely disappeared. A few, very few, theatres have always maintained it, and elsewhere, now and then at the insistence of a maestro, a performance reflecting it turns up. So the ensemble principle will not need to be re-discovered. Even the public knows about it. And once the public starts asking for it, sooner or later it will get it' - Antal Dorati writes in his 1979 autobiography Notes of Seven Decades (Hodder ISBN 0340159227).
The exigencies of the star sytem mean that Punch and Judy receives a tiny mention in this new Royal Opera House national press campaign, but its composer doesn't. Never mind, read about him here, and continue playing spot the composer's name here, before reading more about Maestro Dorati here.
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