Tuesday, 2 November 2010
What's odd in Wexford ?
Here's Andrew Clark in the Financial Times : "The job of artists is to dream dreams - and then to find the resources to realise them. When cutbacks kick in, it's money managers who call the tune, and the first casualty is artistic experiment......Wexford has saddled itself with a sugar-sweet aesthetic that sits ill with its reputation as a connoisseur´s haven"
He's referring to a new opera commisioned in St Louis Missouri, based on a Roald Dahl story. Conceptually there's no reason why children's stories shouldn't make good opera (Hansel and Gretel, La Cenerentola) but artistically this one does not seem promising. It's great prestige for the composer to be showcased at Wexford, and the opera will probably do well in St Louis with a generalist audience (and kids). But is it a mismatch at Wexford ? Some of the operas Wexford has staged are obscure for very good reasons but the USP is that sophisticated audiences like exploring specialist repertoire. Casual visitors aren't going to make the trek to rural Ireland so it might not be good business in the long run.
Please read the full story in the Financial Times here and a long, detailed review of the productions, in Opera Today here.