By Bob Hicks
Today I posted this story, Song of the warhorses: charge of the Butterfly brigade, on Oregon Arts Watch. Somehow, it seemed, a disconnect was going on. Audiences and critics alike were loving Portland Opera‘s current production of Madame Butterfly. Yet there were grumblings in the land: Why this steady diet of warhorses, also known as chestnuts, and all too rarely referred to as classics or core operas? Are we living in the past? If we are, is that a bad thing? Woe, perhaps, are we.
“The question then becomes: Is opera a museum art form? Yes, and no. If the question means, is it an art form rooted in and even dominated by strong traditions, the answer is yes. If the question means, is it a mummified art form, the answer is no. Is Shakespeare mummified theater? Are Vermeer and Rembrandt mummified artists? Not when every new generation that encounters them does so with the shock and thrill of encountering something deep and penetrating and new.”
Photo: Kelly Kaduce stars in “Madame Butterfly,” with Gustav Andreassen (left) and Roger Honeywell. Â©Portland Opera/Cory Weaver.