Much has been written about the historical backgrounds of the Regietheater in opera, also in Opera Gazet. We can deal with historical explanations exhaustively as much as we like, but in the meantime we are stuck with it: the drifting Regietrash constantly flows through the sewers of European opera houses, the handkerchief with eau-de-cologne can no longer compete with it.
The Regietheater is an evil and malignant phenomenon that has been able to take hold without encountering any significant opposition. People will look in vain for intellectual justification. Regietrash is an expression of a so-called “modern sense of life”, a cherished gem in the cultural baggage of Today’s People; if you don’t surrender to it, you belong to a fossil generation that polishes its 78 rpm records every week and with melancholy look at the signed photo of Magda Olivero hanging on the wall.
There is no well-drafted story with reasons why a libretto does not need to be respected. One gets no further than nonsensical one-liners. The fallacies with which Johnny Modern tries to justify the Entführung aus dem Serail placed in a brothel have long been known. There is a kind of top-50. We have listed 10 of them. Here is the first one.
1. Opera is not a museum!
A classic. Strictly speaking it is difficult to disagree with this cliche. Sure, opera is not a museum, just as a tour boat is not a museum. Many things are not museums! Except museums. What is meant: opera is a “living art form”, suggesting that art objects in a museum do not “live”, which is already a dubious implicit assertion. Operas, for example from the 18th and 19th century, are an episodic art form that should not be tampered with. The Then and There is intrinsically of value for the Here and Now. Why should everything always have to be “updated”, with the known bizarre excesses as a result? By the way: “museum” comes from the Greek “Μουσεῖον”, originally “place where the muses are venerated”, just like an Opera House.