Username:
Password:


Forgot your password?
View Photo Credit  
Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
Search the Archive
Search Field:
Search Term:
Media Type:

Top 10 Related Articles by Date Published
Article

Click here to learn more about becoming a Member level donor or organizational member.

Refreshing the Repertory
Patrick J. Smith
Opera America Magazine4/1/2009

The English opera director Nicholas Hytner said it best: “The problem for opera is that its conventions haven’t been refreshed by a constantly evolving repertory.” This situation, endemic and almost rusted into opera, had existed from the beginning of the 20th century, but had become acute in the United States by the end of the 1970s. It was a product of several factors, not least the immense pull of the standard repertory and its box-office stars, but it could also have been the result of what could be termed “The Wagner Curse” — that is, the controlling idea that an opera, once commissioned or set on a course for performance, would be created by composer and librettist and presented with only limited adjustments during the rehearsal period to the public. The prime example of this kind of creative work, other than that of Wagner himself, was the image of the composer Olivier Messaien arriving at the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, entering the office of then-General Director Rolf Liebermann and plunking down 20 pounds of the full score of Saint Francois d’Assise. It had been commissioned; it was delivered. End of story.

About the Author: Patrick J. Smith is retired. He was director of the Opera/Musical Theater Program at the National Endowment for the Arts (1985-1989) and editor of Opera News (1989-2000). He is the author of a history of the opera libretto, The Tenth Muse.

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
Contact Us
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
P 212-796-8620 • F 212-796-8621
Info@operaamerica.orgDirections
From Airport:
The easiest way to reach the OPERA America offices is to get a cab at the airport. Cost is $40-45
(not including tip).
  • JFK - Take the AirTrain ($5 - approx. 15 minutes) to the Jamaica Street Station and transfer to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Take the LIRR to Penn Station ($12 - approx. 35 minutes). See Penn Station directions below.
  • LaGuardia - Take the M60 Bus to the Hoyt Ave/31st Street. Get on the or Train and take that to 42nd/Times Square Station. Follow the Times Square Station directions below.
  • Newark - Take the New Jersey Transit train to Penn Station ($15 - approx. 45 min). See the Penn Station Directions below.

From Penn Station/Madison Square Garden:
Leave the station through the 7th Avenue/33rd Street exit and walk south for four blocks. The building is on
the right hand side.

From Grand Central Station:
Take the Train to the 42nd/Times Square station and transfer to the Train.
Take the Train to the 28th Street stop and walk north on 7th Avenue.
The building is on the same block as the train stop.

From 42nd Street/Times Square:
Take the Train to the 28th Street stop and walk north on 7th Avenue.
The building is on the same block as the train stop.

For more detailed directions, most up-to-date pricing or to specify a different starting location, please visit the
MTA Web site.