Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I attended the premiere of Margaret Garner to acknowledge not only the efforts of the MOT but to also pay a continuing homage to the ancestors of one of America's two holocausts on these shores. It was not my first opera nor will it be my last . I had hopes of observing up close and personal the spectacle of a masterpiece but it was not to be partly no doubt because of the nature of the subject matter and the continuing inability of those in the high art world of Opera to grasp the attention and the essence of its modern day patron. Young people and others regardless of their ethnicity do not find the world of Opera as a place which appeals to their interests. The theme of Margaret Gardner from my perspective as a person of color also suffers from this same thread of thought, slavery and its stories simply do not resonate today not because they lack substance or importance but because there are so many other more contemporary themes and stories which have verve and have the ability to echo and reflect the themes of tales like Margaret Gardner. In America with regard to cultural issues many always prefer the safe route by revisiting the slavery landscape or other familiar tales of woe. I find it revealing that white theatre critics are bending over back ward to lavish praise on what is at best an above average opera. Instead of providing comments based upon the metrics of the opera reviews many opera reviewers are acting like publicists, for the MOT. I have no problem asserting that those in the high art world of opera should elevate their art form and start developing works which are not only cutting edge but cultivates and creates a marriage between the opera world and those on the outside thinking about coming a part of this wonderful art form and cultural treasure. For once I wish those in our artistic ruling class will forsake its reliance on tradition and take a leap into the high art of present day icons and spectacle . I would love to attend a premiere of a New American Opera that reflects the passion, genius, wit,drama of today's living legends and stories. What I experience this past weekend was not spellbinding opera.