07 November 2008

On Wednesday, there was a run on newspapers, as voters rushed to grab a tangible piece of the history they’d made. My husband Max and I, unable to find extra copies, brought our own worn papers home to 8- and 11-year-old Emilie and Julia.

Sept. 11, the seismic event that we’d feared would forever form their political consciousness, shaping their world and constricting the boundaries of the possible, had actually been eclipsed, light blotting out darkness, the best of America at long last driving away the demons of fear. We wanted them to see that it was the end of an era.

05 November 2008

02 November 2008

"This is what is at stake, and we must protect it."

It is a real dilemma today. People are casting more for the look than the quality and correctness of the instrument. They want a Stradivarius in the body of a ukulele. One doesn’t have to be obese, but it does take a bit of weight to support the larger repertoire. Opera must go forward but remain authentic, and ultimately, my loyalty is to the composer, not the camera or the recording mic. One prays that the people doing the casting remember the core audience, otherwise you will find voices ruined because they deceived themselves into the wrong repertoire. Looking the part doesn’t provide protection, and there’s no getting past roles being sung by voices too small to fill them.

I understand the move to encourage people to attend opera by filming and broadcasting the great art to places unable to enjoy it first-hand. I tend to think of it as a sample of what it would be like to experience it live in the theater. That is where opera is at its full seduction, the victory of a human being standing on stage with 100 or more people singing over an 80-piece orchestra in front of 4,000 people, all without a mic. It remains the last bastion of unplugged human communication.