The staging of opera has become immensely controversial over the last twenty years. Tom Sutcliffe here offers an engaging and far-reaching book about opera performance and interpretation. This work is a unique tribute to the most distinctive and adventurous achievements in the theatrical interpretation of opera as it has developed in recent decades. Readers will find descriptions of the most original and successful avant-garde opera productions in Britain, Europe, and America. Sutcliffe beautifully illustrates how updating, transposition, or relocation, and a variety of unexpected imagery in opera, have qualified and adjusted our perception of the content and intention of established masterpieces.
Believing in Opera describes in detail the seminal opera productions of the last fifty years, starting with Peter Brook in London after the war, and continuing with the work of such directors and producers as Patrice Chéreau in Bayreuth, Peter Sellars and David Alden in America, Ruth Berghaus in Frankfurt, and such British directors as Richard Jones, Graham Vick, Peter Hall, and David Pountney. Through his descriptions of these works, Sutcliffe states that theatrical opera has been enormously influenced by the editing style, imagery, and metaphor commonplace in the cinema and pop videos. The evolution of the performing arts depends upon revitalization and defamiliarization, he asserts. The issue is no longer naturalism, but the liberation of the audience's imagination powered by the music.
Sutcliffe, an opera critic for many years, argues that opera is theater plus music of the highest expressive quality, and as a result he has often sided with unconventional and novel theatrical interpretations. He believes that there is more to opera than meets the ear, and his aim is to further the process of understanding and interpretation of these important opera productions. No other book has attempted this kind of monumental survey.
Originally published in 1997.
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"One comes away more fully understanding what lies behind the work of the people he has chosen. . . Believing in Opera is an impressive achievement, reflecting great credit on one of the finest music critics in the business."--Patrick Smith, Opera News
"This book is an eloquent, persuasive celebration of the exciting achievements of contemporary opera production and design."--Anthony Arblaster, Opera
"An engrossing. maddening, important book, which should be required reading for operagoers of every stripe."--Max Loppert, Opera
"Clearly a laudable, novel and timely enterprise, the fruit of which adds significantly to our knowledge."--Christopher Wintle, Times Literary Supplement
"For the eager, curious opera lover, this is a valuable account of the recent past, a map of territory conquered, which will serve as a guide to future pleasures."--Sir Jeremy Isaacs, The Guardian
"Sutcliffe's book is hugely worthwhile. . . a feast of material craving assent and disputation. It will be read with recognition and pleasure by anyone wanting to test their own impressions against those of an impassioned advocated of the shock of the new."--Patrick Carnegy, The Spectator
"Anyone seriously interested in the future of opera, whether they are in Mr. Sutcliffe's camp or not, should read this book."--Michael Kennedy, Sunday Telegraph
"This specialized, sturdily bound, thoroughly indexed book will arouse the interest of general and professional opera lovers."--Choice
"Believing in Opera is an impressive achievement, reflecting great credit on one of the finest music critics in the business."--Opera News
Table of Contents
Hardcover: For sale only in the United States, its Territories and Dependencies
Paperback: For sale only in the United States, its Territories and Dependencies