I had an interesting conversation with a friend a few days ago. We were discussing Minnesota Opera’s upcoming world premiere of Doubt. We were both excited about the future run because, in our minds, the opera addresses something relevant and deeply personal to many. Suddenly I wished there were more operas that touched on current events.
With a combination of music and theater, opera has this amazing ability to tap into carnal values, forcing us to recognize them–unrequited love, for instance, and the desire to possess. I am happy and proud to say that I have experienced how opera can make one internalize complex human relationships. Performances like The Grapes of Wrath, Silent Night, and even Madame Butterfly left me with a new perspective on culture, interpersonal relationships, and myself. As much as I love opera’s ability to do this, I sometimes wonder if the year in which the opera was published, or the era in which the opera takes place, can occasionally create sizable distance between the audience and the performance happening on stage.
I think it would be amazing to see how opera addresses current affairs. Watching how the opera approaches topics such as Wall Street, gay marriage, abortion, or the Bush Administration would fascinate me. I imagine an already heated and complex issue, complimented by the richness of opera, and find myself hungry to know the result. I love the vast display of beauty from various eras, and by no means do I intend to criticize a masterpiece. Seeing the richness and depth that opera adds to any classic story or moment in history, I am simply eager to see what it might bring the the dramas of our own time.
- Tempo Board Member Colin Dickau
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