The problem with new opera

October 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

This season the Met is presenting John Adam’s new opera Doctor Atomic, and in the 06-07 season they presented the world premiere of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor, a work the Met commissioned. However, new operas are rare, and a second production of one is even rarer. These days, it seems presenting a new opera is a gamble at best and a liability at worst. This NYTimes article discusses why so many new operas struggle. Although there are many 20th Century Operas I love, Vanessa, Susannah, The Medium, I have always been disappointed with the new operas I’ve seen. The Tempest was ok, and Miss Lonelyhearts was absolutely terrible. One thing to keep in mind, though, the majority of operas written have always been bad! We just have kept the good ones in the standard repertoire and forgotten the bad ones (and a few good ones too, I’m sure).


–Erika

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