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 fourth one.
The way you want it… that cannot be done these days!
That is ridiculous!
Is that so, the way we want it, can no longer be done in 2022? Really, is “the way we want it” so ridiculous? The way we want it is quite simply: leave the masterpiece intact, leave the composer and librettist in peace. However preponderant the composer of an opera may be, it is almost always the work of two creative artists: the composer and the librettist (who sometimes coincide in one and the same person). Composer and librettist form an inseparable entity as do a composition and libretto. What we “traditionalists” find ridiculous is a La Bohème in a spaceship.
Ridiculous, childish and a slap in the face of Puccini and librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. And with that a slap in the face of the sincere opera lover.