Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Le Comte Ory Premiere and the Future of Opera (Post 1)

So the NY MET recently premiered one of Rossini's rarely performed comic Operas "Le Comte Ory" along with a new production by Tony award-winning director Bartlett Sher. The video above has footage from the red carpet for Opening Night. There were notably many celebrities at the event including Emmy Rossum (best know for her role in the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber's "The Phantom of the Opera"), Claire Danes, who recently won numerous accolades for her portrayal of Temple Grandin, as well as the rather oddly somber looking Olsen twins (I'm not sure what they've won) among others.

All in all it was a winning night-if not for Emmy Rossum's dreary and perhaps overly pessimistic remarks about Opera and how it is a "dying art form" becase "young people" don't "get" it. Well to me that is a rather skewed perception.  It actually surprised me that somebody with her background would make such a statement, especially at a premiere ( ironic). YES she does have a point in that the majority of the Opera-going public is comprised of the older crowd/generation, especially here in America, but just because a certain art form is embraced to a certain sector of society it does not mean the art form is "dying". The only condition that makes us conducive to death is being alive. That goes for everyone and anyone no matter if you're a toddler or an octogenarian. Besides, we are are all in effect "dying". This planet is essentially "dying" from the ecological crisis we ourselves have created.

Furthermore, by adopting this often hackneyed expression, she is in fact contradicting herself. Is she not a 'young' person and a public figure who "gets" Opera? Clearly she sees herself as the exception to the trend, but is being the exception necessarily a bad thing? Can we really declare that Opera is "dying" just because its audience is perhaps more mature? Isn't this equating an older audience with no audience? It seems Emmy and all those are forgetting (or perhaps naively ignoring) the fact that they too will soon be "the older audience" and I highly doubt that they/we will still be listening to the likes of Justin Bieber and Kesha.

More to come in the next post on this subject

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