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 seventh one.
Regietheater attracts young people,
without youth the opera is doomed.
Yes, perhaps the opera without young people in the opera hall is doomed. But the Regietheater is certainly not the solution to attract young people. Young people and children, as après-opera surveys show time and again, love the magic, the splendour, and the opulence. How else could one explain the success of Harry Potter, of Disney films and of all those musicals? Zauberflöte, Hänsel und Gretel, Les Contes d’Hoffmann but also Idomeneo, Aida, Flying Dutchman etc. have the potential to meet the wishes of a young audience. However, these wishes can only be fulfilled if the works are performed in accordance with the libretto. Imagine that a child has carefully prepared himself for his first Magic Flute. There are all sorts of fantasy images in his head, but all too often they are brutally disturbed by some terrible Regietheater director. Do you really believe that this child is a future opera fanatic? Moreover, there is an equally important question: how do you hold on to the older audience in times of Regietrash? You certainly cannot afford to lose this target group.