Mary Cassatt, Woman in Black at the Opera, 1879
The future of opera has many considerations. It must respond to changes in financial markets, in audience tastes, and in the aesthetic direction of an art that has a 400-year history but that also remains productive with new works. Beyond that, it is simply one of the most complex and expensive forms to produce. Consequently, contemporary opera companies are dealing with a number of intersecting issues. How to present new work and find audiences for it, how to mount expensive productions of the historically celebrated repertoire, how to balance the budget in tough financial times, and how to honor the artists who pour their soul into their beloved work. The Muse Dialogue offers some thoughts on the situation, and shares the thoughts of Pittsburgh Opera’s General Director, Christopher Hahn.
Join us for reflections on opera, its history and future, and even on the wonders of nonprofit finance in “The Future of Opera, a Conversation with Christopher Hahn” (click here to read full article).
A scene from the Pittsburgh Opera production of La Cenerentola (Photo: Pittsburgh Opera)
The Muse Dialogue turns attention now to opera and opens a series with consideration of the barrier of our own presumptions and misconceptions. Opera is among the longstanding art forms now in a state of transition, evolving as it faces the current era of the arts. One of opera’s challenges is surely our own notion of what it is, an often misinformed bias. Andrew Swensen writes, “Opera might well stand at the top of the list of art forms deserving your good-faith effort to dispel preconceptions. You might find yourself having what is perhaps the most frequent response of first-timers: “That was not what I was expecting.”” Along the way, we have the thoughts of Christopher Hahn, the General Director of the Pittsburgh Opera, and a reflection on Richard Wagner’s responsibility for one of opera’s great cliches.
Join us for the first in a series on opera: “That Was Not What I Was Expecting”: To Get to Opera We Must First Get Past Ourselves” (click here to read full article).
Leonardo, gone but not forgotten
We love the arts, and want to preserve them all…or so we think until we realize that we also need to make space for the new. In the process, forms come and go, and some ultimately die out. The process is natural and not necessarily a bad thing unto itself. However, it comes with some difficult questions. Andrew Swensen takes up some of those challenges — the need to cultivate the new, to preserve the old, and to make sure that everyone has a place in the rich world of the arts.
Read on in our latest article, “Aesthetic Darwinism” (click here to read full article).
Our explorations of intersections between art and technology continues today in a TMD interview with Gyda Arber. Arber has created work in the genre of “iPod noir.” What is an iPod noir? Elyssa Jechow had the same question, and she shares the answer in “Authoring an iPod Noir: An Interview with Gyda Arber.” (click to view full interview)
“The most potent theater is inextricably tied to the risk of self-revelation.” A German amphitheater (Photo: Jeffrey Carpenter)
Jeffrey Carpenter — actor, director, and Artistic Director of Bricolage theater company — brings the thunder of words to the public role of the theater: “We must overhaul our way of thinking. Take nothing for granted. Dispel the myth of safety and security and create a space where failure is encouraged, and courage is rewarded. Dare to light the fuse. Break the rule. Leap before we look. Vow to always be beginning.”
Click here to read the call and challenge to the arts community from an artist defying convention and conformity as he contemplates the future of creativity in “Occupy Theater”