After watching a new production of Bellini’s Norma, Dalrymple muses on modern opera:
It often seems to me that the first qualification for producers of operas these days is proneness to severe lapses of taste, a kind of epilepsy of the judgment, or even a complete absence of aesthetic common sense. Orgies, if not actually a compulsory element of any production, are at least very frequent, however inappropriate they may be to the story or production as a whole. It is as if the plots of operas are not sufficiently melodramatic without the addition of a little light pornography.
I couldn’t agree more with Dr.Daniels criticism.For a long time I have been observing theatrical lack of common sense and taste and tried to find out the reasons thereof. At least for directors of my generation( first post war and german) ,I pondered the vague and vulgar-freudian theory that these upper- and upper middle class people are taking revenge on their nazi fathers( yes,I know many of those leftist directors and academics did have nazi fathers) and I dare not adventure into speculations about ” anal-retentive” behaviour, but this could maybe explain their predelection for black clothes and shaved or uncombed heads,the proneness to bodily functions of the less appetizing variety and to fascist uniforms, even when there is no relation to the plot of the representation.Parzivals pilgrims choir in SS uniforms or as rats? What is a naked mans function in Tristan und Isolde? What is the point?Am I too stupid to appreciate modern theatre?Psychoanalists to the front!