Sunday, May 01, 2005

First principles

Are there rules for opera productions? I can think of some.

1. The opera is not about you.
2. Disbelief is acceptable only in the first 5 or 10 minutes of the opera.

This second item is huge. If the curtain comes up and I see something I have completely not expected to see, I must get over it by no more than 10 minutes into the opera. That means that during a crucial scene in Act III nothing gets to happen that causes the audience to suspend belief. Whatever environment you have established must be fully accepted by then. All must flow from the setup.

I think there are more rules than this, but this is the biggest. For the production designer this is an entertaining twist. For the audience it destroys the performance. Think about it.

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