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 sixth one.
So boring !
So boring! So old-fashioned! So dusty! Such expressions are statements often used by the Regietrash adepts to denigrate so-calles “traditional” productions. In the end, all these qualifications are nothing more than subjective opinions. Everyone is, of course, entitled to his or her opinion, but there is never any argument to start a factual discussion. Instead, the emphasis is on a pejorative and aggressive way of silencing others. In Franco Zeffirelli’s famous Turandot staging at the Met, there is usually loud applause for the open scene change when the golden imperial palace appears in the middle of act II. The same goes for Otto Schenk’s and Jürgen Rose’s Rosenkavalier in Munich when the curtain for the second act was opened – that applause remains, even though these productions are decades old. This is a clear indication that “traditional”(i.e. faithful to the libretto) productions are generally not regarded as ‘boring’ by the public at all.