Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Rush to Judgement – A Reflection Sparked by 2018 Bayreuth

An excerpt from the latest Bayreuth Lohengrin provoked critical comments from opera fans. We know there are many who are willing to criticize a production sight-unseen. Others will reserve judgement till they at least see photos or maybe a 5-minute video.

My readers know by now that I will argue that it’s not fair to pass judgement on a performance without seeing/hearing/experiencing the whole thing.

With most "non-traditional" stagings, it's very hard to grasp a production from excerpts. (Granted, this Lohengrin bit is a nice long excerpt.) Neuenfels' Lohengrin just seems gimmicky if you only see one scene, aria, or chorus; but it made sense (to me) once I watched it through. Decker's Traviata (like it or not) makes a lot more sense when you see it from start to finish, rather than just the Brindisi. And, (one of my unsung—so to speak—favorites) Richard Jones' Boheme from Bregenz (2002) kind of weirded me out until I saw the whole thing.

All we are saying is, “Give (the) Piece a Chance.”

P.S. At this moment, while writing about Lohengrin, I'm listening to a stream of Die Meistersinger, and experiencing what my granddaughter would call "cognitive dissonance" (even though I am pretty certain she's not quite sure what cognitive dissonance means!)


  1. I’m generally a Regie, AND Not Regie Opera viewer. I like it all. I am glad Opera seems to be flexible in the productions unlike other art forms. we don’t require the chorus in Nabucco to be Jewish. It seems the film industry is heading towards stricter adherence in the actors playing a character. I am interested to see the Salzburg production of Salome on, Although this article is making me wonder about some of the production choices,

  2. I watched the Rat Lohengrin all the way through was very puzzled, could not get it out of my mind, watched it again and now love it. SO it took two whole exposures to get it. SO yes, agree with you, at least watch the whole thing.

  3. I finished the Salzburg production of Salome. The voices were great and music too. There have been a couple of NYT articles on it. One said they had no idea why a horse head was used (I have a theory) and another interviewed the designer. He explained some choices but not the horse head as I recall. His explanations did not make too much sense to me but such is art. Anyway, a lot of opera still to fit in.


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