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Pop Quiz: Regietheater

The opera world is a predominantly civilized place, but like any other subculture we have our own lexicon and, in turn, our brand of pejoratives. One of the worst words in opera is likely Regietheater, which literally translates to “director’s theater.” Often synonymous with the slightly more impolitic “Eurotrash,” Regietheater is often deployed to describe odious, deconstructionist productions and stagings that are thought to be fundamentally at odds with the dramatic impetus and mise en scènes intended by the composer and librettist. Imagine, for instance, a director, given free reign, who feels justified in staging La Bohème in a meat locker, Nozze di Figaro in a Paxil-addled psychiatric hospital or Wagner’s Ring cycle in a strip club. One of the worst examples of Regietheater I’ve seen in some time — and a pop quiz testing your Regietheater readiness — after the jump.

Sylvie Valayre in Verdi’s Nabucco, singing the difficult part of Abigaille. Staging by Hans Neuenfels, the conductor is Pietro Rizzo. Deutsche Oper Berlin, 24 February 2008

<a href=”” >This production of Verdi’s Nabucco, which played in February 2008 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, amounts to an effort by stage director Hans Neuenfels to… </a> <br /> <span style=”font-size:9px;”> (<a href=””> surveys</a>)</span>

  • robin

    i want to see more ridiculousness! any other examples?

  • Adam Wasserman

    There are other excerpts from this production available on YouTube, though none are as utterly ridiculous as this one. I’m still looking for footage from Doris Dörrie’s infamous “Planet of the Apes” production of RIGOLETTO, which played at the Bayerische Staatsoper in 2005:

  • Jennifer Griffith

    Robin, For more ridiculousness and serious frightening examples, come back to the Zipper April 11th and 17th, for Christopher Alden directing 3 opera scenes. Constance Hauman and Michael Zegarski singing. By turns devious, murderous, and bawdy to the extreme. You won’t be disappointed.

  • fred

    “tenants”? Your demographic wants to see ‘tenets’. That said, the bees are pretty silly.

  • fred again

    Holy Smokes! The sidebar on this page entitled “ON THE SUNDAY ARTS BLOG” quotes my previous comment, but leaves off the last word. I can’t imagine a better example of misrepresentation through careless quoting.

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