Tag Archives: Orphee

Don’t look back: Here comes Orphee

Portland Opera didn’t exactly go to Hell and back to make its first commercial recording. Or maybe it did.

Can it really have been only last November that Philip Glass‘s opera Orphee, based on Jean Cocteau‘s celebrated 1949 film version of the myth about the man who lost his love by looking back at her as he guided her out of the Underworld, was the talk of Puddletown? When perhaps the world’s most famous living serious composer was in town, taking in rehearsals of the opera company’s revival of his 1993 musical drama?

Courtesy Portland OperaGlass decided he liked the Portland cast so much that it should be recorded, leading to a double first: Portland Opera’s first-ever commercial recording, and the first full recording of Orphee, part of a Cocteau trilogy by Glass that also includes La Belle et la Bete and Les Enfants Terribles.

Now it’s here. Today, Portland Opera’s Julia Sheridan sent out word that the two-disc set, released on the Glass-centric Orange Mountain Music label, has hit the shelves. You can buy it online at the opera company’s Web site, or at its box office south of OMSI, and soon, we imagine, at all the usual places.

Portland Opera’s version of Orphee, in a production that originated at Glimmerglass Opera in Upstate New York, was terrific, and fellow Scatterers may recall that we covered it like a Methodist missionary desperately throwing wet blankets over the sunbathers at a nude beach. Here is the outcome of our group interview with Glass, which came before Mr. Scatter blogged live from the Keller Auditorium on opening night: the results of that act of impertinent bravado are here, here, here, and here. A little later, Mr. Scatter offered empirical evidence of why his fellow blogger Storm Large was besieged by autograph hounds and he was not.

Time to slip that CD into your stereo and raise a Glass in a toast. Just don’t look over your shoulder.

A dance critic at the opera: Move it, singers!

Remember the old days, when Cadillac-sized opera singers planted their feet among the scenery and belted beautiful music with no thought to the dramatic possibilities of the opera? Art Scatter’s senior correspondent Martha Ullman West does, and she shudders at the memory. What’s more, she sees the old style’s residual effects in the staging of “Orphee” at Portland Opera. Her message: Pay attention to the dancemakers. They have lessons for the musical stage.

Philip Cutlip as Orphee and Lisa Saffer as La Princesse. photo: Cory Weaver/Portland Opera

Philip Cutlip as Orphee and Lisa Saffer as La Princesse. photo: Cory Weaver/Portland Opera

First the disclaimer — my opera expertise is limited, although my opera attendance began when I was 10 when my father took me to a New York City Opera production of The Marriage of Figaro. I really got the bug when I was in college, and for the past 35 years or so I’ve been an off and on subscriber to the Portland Opera.

So I belong to a generation of opera-goers that has seen a paradigmatic shift in staging: Gone, mostly, are the days when Licia Albanese, say, as the tragic Butterfly, planted her feet, opened her mouth and sang (in heavenly fashion, I might add) her concluding aria; or Pavarotti, as the lascivious duke in Rigoletto, did the same. Today, opera singers have to be able to move. Body language is part of the art form.

And in a Philip Glass opera, they ought to be able to move a lot more dynamically than they were directed to do in Orphee, which I saw Sunday afternoon. In all other respects I thought Portland Opera’s production was stunning, from the score, to the conducting, to the set, to the singing, particularly by Philip Cutlip as Orphee, Georgia Jarman as Eurydice and Lisa Saffer as the Princess.

BUT, my esteemed colleague David Stabler complained in The Oregonian that the production was static, and he’s right. Only Cutlip and Jarman seemed really physically at ease onstage, moving naturally, and with a certain amount of impulse. Saffer did indeed prowl from time to time, but that’s all she did, except to smoke, and everyone else moved stiffly and self-consciously, when they moved at all, except for a bit of leaping on and off of sofas and the bar in the party scene.

I couldn’t help thinking how different it would have looked if it had been directed by Jerry Mouawad in the way he staged No Exit for Imago. In fact, speaking of French poets, are we in Portland this fall enjoying a Season in Hell? (That’s Rimbaud’s long poem, and come to think of it, it would make a dandy opera.)

Glass deserves better physical direction for his operas. He has collaborated with a lot of choreographers. In fact, the first review I did for Dance Magazine, in 1979 (an essay review on post-modern dance in New York) included the premiere of DANCE, a piece he did with Lucinda Childs, which included elegant film images and for which he performed accompaniment himself.

Continue reading A dance critic at the opera: Move it, singers!

From Portland to New York, let ‘Esther’ sing

All right, I know. It’s way past time to get off this Portland Opera kick: Puddletown’s got a lot more fish to fry.


Christophera Mattaliano/Portland Opera

How can I not mention Christopher Mattaliano and his big splash (or rather, his show’s big splash) in the front-page centerpiece of today’s New York Times arts section?

I was surprised to see Mattaliano, Portland Opera’s general director, cruising the lobby Friday night at Keller Auditorium before the opening of the opera’s Orphee. After all, I knew he had his own very important production opening the following night: He’s the stage director for New York City Opera‘s new revival of Hugo Weisgall‘s Esther.

“What are you doing here?” I asked. “Don’t you have an opening tomorrow in New York?”

“Well, I’m done there now,” he replied. “The stage director doesn’t have much to do at this point.”

He seemed pretty casual about the whole thing. But surely he was pleased with the work he’d done. This was a heavy-spotlight show — not just NYCO’s season opener, but also the first production since the company’s return to its refurbished space at Lincoln Center. It was also the first revival of Weisgall’s Esther since its premiere in 1993, also at New York City Opera, and also with Mattaliano as stage director — a homecoming in many ways. And it was a critical production for a prominent company trying to return from the edge of a financial abyss.

But let Anthony Tommasini, the Times’s critic, tell it:

“(With Esther), this essential company, teetering on the brink of extinction not long ago, announced it was back. Not just up and running, but exuding purpose and confidence.”

Tommasini’s review suggests some of the forward thinking that Mattaliano has also brought to his programming for Portland Opera, including Orphee, the rarely produced opera by Philip Glass:

“Christopher Mattaliano, the director of the premiere production, has refurbished that staging, which used filmed images projected on scrims and screens. This revival uses richly detailed video and other innovations.”

For Tommasini’s complete review, click here.

Why Storm Large signs autographs and Mr. Scatter doesn’t

While Mr. Scatter lowers his head to the task, Ms. Large is charming and gracious with her fan base. Photo: CaroleZoom

It’s called, I think, charisma. The dress doesn’t hurt, either. One of the pleasures of being part of Friday night’s blogathon at the opening of Portland Opera’s Orphee was meeting artist and photographer CaroleZoom, who after chatting for a bit zoomed in with her camera (unobtrusively, I might add: good photographers have a way of being there but disappearing, creating a calm zone around their subjects) and later sent the results along. It’s not quite like looking through the mirror and spying Hell, as Orpheus does in the opera, but you can’t help noticing a certain physical disparity.

Mr. Scatter, lips pursed and head bowed to the task. Photo: CaroleZoom

Sitting between rock diva Storm and man-about-town Byron Beck was a little like being the shuttlecock in a game of friendly scatological badminton. The match had speed and competitive edge and affability: It was like David Mamet with a sense of humor.

You can see Byron’s wristwatch (a retrograde physical adornment, used as a timekeeping device in the days before cell phones) immediately behind Mr. Scatter, who’s the one in the retro green vest sweater. Leaning against the wall, in the even more retro argyle sweater, is PICA blogger Jim Withington, and that’s Portland Opera’s Julia Sheridan at the far end of the table in classic black. Portland Center Stage’s always elegant and always witty Cynthia Fuhrman flanks Ms. Large in the left (or stage right) foreground.

Years of sitting in the midst of ultra-noisy newsrooms allowed Mr. Scatter to absorb what was going on around him while simultaneously attending to his task. I was impressed by Storm’s graciousness as fans young and old, several of them starstruck, vied for her attention. Yes, she signed autographs. And she had a way of homing in on each person, asking questions, engaging them, knowing that you don’t talk the same way to a teenager as to a septuagenarian. This is celebrity, Portland-style.

Carole also snapped the inset photo of Mr. Scatter, which she labeled “Concentration.” When Mrs. Scatter saw it, she laughed. “That’s the way you always look when you’re writing,” she said. “Head down, lips pursed.” Mrs. Scatter concentrates at the keyboard, too, and every now and again breaks up in laughter over something she’s just wrought.

Enough for now. Mr. Scatter must hunker over his keyboard and write a review for his friendly neighborhood largish urban newspaper.


Photos: CaroleZoom

Friday Night Live from the Keller: ‘Orphee,’ Part 4

Philip Glass in Florence, 1993. Photo: Pasquale Salerno/Wikimedia Commons10:10 p.m., this joint is emptying out.

I think they want to kick us out.

A couple of things first:

In the film that Glass adapted, Cocteau was revitalizing the “fairy tale,” which even in the 1940s and 1950s had been relegated to the children’s shelf, and giving it back its spirituality and wonder. He was after the source of power in the universe. And, yes, it seems to have something to do with love. Maybe the Beatles were right. Or Jesus. Or whoever. Why is it these questions are usually left to “kids” tales?

No rock ‘n’ roll Glass in Orphee. This is beautifully crafted, and beautifully orchestrated, music, with some gorgeous vocal lines, and the singers’ volume got better as the evening progressed.

And it was ACTED — no Fat Lady planting her feet and belting here. Lisa Saffer as the Princess and Philip Cutlip as Orphee lead a truly good cast.

There’s mysticism here, folks: After a reference to “the one who gives the orders,” we’re told:

“Some believe he thinks of us. Others that we imagine him.”

And, of course, dry humor, as in this exchange between Orphee and a friend:

“The public loves me.”

“They are alone.”

This has been an odd way to write — fleetingly, conjecturally, without time to contemplate or shape. There’s much more to say, and quite a bit I did say that truly belongs on the cutting room floor. Well, too late. And too bad.

That’s all, folks, except for the bonus tracks below.



On NOT introducing himself to Cocteau in Paris in 1954, when the poet was living there and Glass had moved there for the first time. This was shortly after Cocteau and director Jean-Pierre Melville had collaborated on the movie version of Cocteau’s 1929 novel Les Enfants Terribles:

“I don’t think I could have. I think I would have been terrified of meeting him.”



On today’s multimillion-dollar special effects and the way Cocteau did it in his films:

“I suppose Cocteau probably had a budget of five dollars and thirty-five cents for special effects. Yet those effects are magical.”



Photo: Philip Glass in Florence, 1993. Pasquale Salerno/Wikimedia Commons

Friday Night Live from the Keller: ‘Orphee,’ Part 3

"Orpheus in the Wilderness," anonymous woodblock

9:53 p.m.: After the show, after the applause, after the standing ovation.

“I actually liked it a lot,” Mrs. Scatter said. “I found it surprisingly moving.”

Yes, it is. This is an opera that’s hardly been produced since its debut in 1993, and now it seems ready to join the repertoire. It stands up to the test of time.

And time, of course, is part of what Glass/Cocteau are talking about. A miracle occurs in this story, the miracle of moving time itself backwards after it’s already played out its events. The book of life and death is wiped clean — returned, if not to the beginning, to a point that allows a second chance. Wouldn’t we all love that? And why Orphee, who seems an ungrateful, selfish sort? Because. And “because” is enough.

Why isn’t this opera called Orpheus and Eurydice, as so many other versions of the myth have been? Because, although the two end up together (is it a “happy” ending? — in Ovid and most versions, Eurydice is lost forever when Orpheus glances back) this version isn’t really about Orpheus and his wife. It’s about Orpheus and Death, the Princess, who sets the whole thing in motion by falling in love with the poet.

This is a vigorously dramatic version of the myth, with fine stage direction by Sam Helfrich that is emotionally taut but not above a good sight gag. Once Orphee and Eurydice are returned to life under orders that he can never look at her, Eurydice pops behind chairs and crawls around the floor to avoid his glance: It has an I Love Lucy tinge to it.



On the musical establishment and making it as a musician:

“You’re better off going out on your own than going through the establishment. The establishment, the price is too high.”

But he added that economic conditions make that much harder than when he was young, especially if you want to work in a place like New York, which is the sort of talent pool you want to immerse yourself in.

“In my business, anyone who makes a living, I say, ‘Hats off.'”



On the pathfinders when he was building his career:

“The jazz world was the real avant-garde. These were people who didn’t make any money and lived for their art.”

He mentioned Ornette Coleman among the jazz geniuses. But there were many others the public never knew, he added, and there still are. He runs into them all the time on the streets of New York: black, white, Hispanic musicians who are doing genuinely exciting work but can’t get a break.



On the business of music:

“I was never the kind of person who was going to write a work of music that would never be played. I never, in fact, have written a piece of music that I didn’t KNOW was going to be played. It just seems like too much work.”


Photo: “Orpheus in the Wilderness,” anonymous woodblock print, 1500s

Friday Night Live from the Keller: ‘Orphee,’ Part 2

Photo: French poster for Jean Cocteau’s film “Orphee,” the inspiration for Philip Glass’s opera. Wikimedia CommonsFrench poster for Jean Cocteau's film "Orphee," the inspiration for Philip Glass's opera. Wikimedia Commons

8:38 p.m., Intermission: No smoke yet, but lots of mirrors.

One of the coolest things about this opera is the way that it uses the image of the mirror. Very important to Cocteau, and Glass and the set designer, Andrew Lieberman, have picked up on it. The mirror has magical properties. It’s the doorway between worlds, the world of the living and the world of the dead. And that is the journey that Orphee and his put-upon wife, Eurydice, must take. As Death’s chauffeur, the dashing Huertebise (Ryan McPherson) tells Orphee: “You don’t have to understand, only believe.”

The music: Of course you know the Philip Glass joke:

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Philip Glass.”

Well, it’s not true. At least, not in this opera. Sure, he uses a background of repetitions. So did Bach. Listened to any of those organ-grinder Bach numbers lately? Here, that’s just the backdrop for a palette of impressionist sound that somehow seems very French to me — maybe because this is, after all, a French tale, at least in its Cocteau interpretation. I find the music very restrained but opening up at key times, and beautifully sung, although I’d like a little more oomph now and then from some of the voices. That’ll be all balanced out in the recording, and it should sound terrific. Lots of craft in this piece!



On Cocteau’s reputation as a flighty man incapable of settling into one discipline:

“My view is that … he wasn’t a dilettante. … He in fact had one idea. His idea was that the transformation of the world comes through magic. And the magic comes through the artist.”

Or, he added, through anyone else who chooses to use it.


I was worried about not having the film itself, because Cocteau is such an amazing poet of the moving picture, and his film of Orphee has some utterly ravishing, untranslatable moments. Glass’s adaptation of La Belle et la Bete uses the film itself — the musicians are below the screen, playing and singing — and there’s a ghostly effect to it. This one’s … different. And not at all in a bad way. The dialogue is word for word from the movie script, but this is a stage drama.



Asked whether other composers influenced the music in Orphee, he brought up Gluck’s 1762 opera Orpheus ed Euridice:

“I came across a beautiful melody in that. I tried to write it from memory, and I failed. I ended up writing something that wasn’t like Gluck at all.”


Friday Night Live from the Keller: ‘Orphee,’ Part 1

Philip Glass in Florence, 1993. Photo: Pasquale Salerno/Wikimedia Commons6:14 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, Keller Auditorium, in the lobby: One hour and 16 minutes to showtime, the show being the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass’s Orphee, by Portland Opera.

A crowd’s assembled outside the doors, early birds waiting to claim their spots.

I’m sitting between Byron Beck and Storm Large — rare company.

Time to stop and head for the stage. To be continued. Ha. Nobody’s stopping. Keyboards away!

You’ll find scattered through these posts several Philip Glass Bonus Tracks, outtakes from my Tuesday morning group interview with Glass and from his talk Tuesday night at the Portland Art Museum. They’re interesting, and they fill space nicely when I have nothing to say!

I’m quite looking forward to seeing this — I’ve heard the Paul Barnes solo piano version of some of the music, and I like it. I saw the first of Glass’s Cocteau operas, La Belle et La Bete, on a Halloween night in Eugene — perfect timing. David Stabler and I once went to Eugene to double-team a review of Glass’s A Thousand Airplanes on the Roof, a collaboration with playwright David Henry Hwang. David: Thumbs down. Me: Thumbs up. We had a great time disagreeing. And I remember vividly a solo piano concert by Glass when I realized, he’s a superb pianist, he really knows music history, and he respects the past.

Byron yells: “Cynthia, are you hash-tagging this thing?!” What in god’s name can he be talking about?

Tour time.

We go backstage. It’s a raked stage — one to twelve, as Cynthia Fuhrman says, which means a one-inch drop every foot. Not too bad when you’re standing around, but I wouldn’t want to have to find my mark on it while I was singing. It’s a very chic, uptown Manhattan-style, midcentury modern sort of set. Laura Hassell, the opera’s production manager, points out that there’s a ceiling — not a usual thing — which creates a sense of confinement but also acts as a shell that will help project the sound into the auditorium. It’s a single-set show — originated at Glimmerglass Opera in New York — and most of the action will be downstage. There’s a big mirror that’s crucial to the plot; it has a handprint on it. It’ll be polished shortly before curtain. Because all four performances are being recorded to make a CD of the show, a few small mikes are hidden discreetly around the stage. For the dialogue, mostly.



On the appeal of Orphee and the Orpheus myth:

“Life, death, immortality and art. I mean, c’mon. That’s pretty heavy stuff.”


7 p.m.: Friends keep dropping by, saying hi, shaking hands. “Pardon me, is it all right if a take a picture of some of you?” a nicely dressed gentleman asks. “Absolutely,” I reply. “Go ahead.” I suspect he’s going to be aiming at Storm, not me.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the auditorium is now open for seating,” that muffled voice over the microphone announces, but nobody seems to be paying much attention.

This is the lively time: the buzz, the happy rumble, the pre-show pump-up. I love this sound, this bright roar where only a rare word comes through intelligibly, but you can tell everyone’s pumped. This is the lively preamble to a live show, that human factor that only live performance — a play, a dance, an opera, a ballgame — brings out. Communal. I see composer David Schiff standing a few feet away. Love to hear what he has to say afterwards. Mark Mandel, too, who just dropped by. Mark knows more about opera than anyone I know. He should be doing this! Or David Stabler, who just stopped by with his wife Judy.



On the parallels between Cocteau’s poet-hero in Orphee and his own life as an artist largely forgotten by the younger generation of artists:

“This film is the autobiographical film. This film is about Cocteau himself.”


7:11 p.m.: I fear this is blather. I’m feeling a bit like Roland Hedley, the fatuous newsman in Doonesbury, who’s just published a book of Twitters. Jim Cox strolls by, dashing in a tux with a silvery Bret Maverick vest. Or is it Bart?

Mighty Toy Cannon is lurking about, mocking my two-finger typing technique. Marc Acito, who’s IN THE CAST, for crying out loud, is behind me hugging Storm. “Shouldn’t you be in makeup?” I ask. “I’m not on until the second act,” he replies.

And now writing guru Mead Hunter is making the rounds. And playwright/filmmaker Jan Baross. And here’s music writer Brett Campbell and his wife.


“I’m Flickering right now, Tweeting, I’m Flickering. I’m having a hard time!” That’s Byron, next to me. Again: What in blue blazes is he talking about?

7:24 p.m.: The opera’s Julia Sheridan comes over. “It’s almost curtain time. Time to wrap up and get to your seats.”


Photo: Philip Glass in Florence, 1993. Pasquale Salerno/Wikimedia Commons

Mr. Scatter becomes a lobbyist (with a laptop)

As the old joke goes, tonight’s the night!

This is not Mr. Scatter. Not by a long shot. It's Storm Large.
Art Scatter regulars might have noted that it’s been Philip Glass Week in Portland, and tonight at Keller Auditorium his 1993 opera Orphee opens in its West Coast premiere, performed by Portland Opera. Reports are promising: Glass liked the dress rehearsal so much that he whipped up a deal to have all four performances recorded and turned into a CD for Orange Mountain Music. It’ll be this opera’s first full recording.

And sitting in the lobby, along with his laptop and four other local members of the blogospheric chattering class, will be Mr. Scatter, there to file a continuing stream of instant analysis, much like a pontificating television face on a national election night:

“Orpheus has been caught on camera looking over his shoulder, and that could spell serious trouble for Eurydice’s chances in the tensely fought Afterlife race. At stake is control of a sprawling district that runs from the far shores of the River Styx to the lush meadows on the surface end of the cave opening. We’ll update you as we learn more. But this could be bye-bye to a once-promising career. Over to you, Storm.”

Here are my owlish teammates, and where you can follow their instamusings:

Storm Large. The rock diva and musical-theater star of Cabaret and Crazy Enough will post at www.stormlarge.com. You’ll recognize her. She’s the tall good-looking one, and her posts will probably be littered with Words Not Ordinarily Associated With Art Scatter.

Byron Beck. If Portland’s a town, Byron’s the man about it. He knows just about everybody, and just about everything, and dishes it out when and where the mood strikes. www.byronbeck.com

Jim Withington. The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art has been one of Glass Week’s sponsors (it has a long relationship with Glass) and Jim will be blogging on PICA’s Urban Honking.

Cynthia Fuhrman. Portland Center Stage’s resident marketing genius is very smart and very funny and no doubt will be a lot of fun to read. She’ll be posting on the PCS blog. Rumor has it that while the other bloggers will be sipping beer as they type feverishly away, la Fuhrman will be pampered with cocktails, no doubt with colorful little paper umbrellas to pretty them up. It’s rigged. Florida election here, folks.

Marc Acito. BONUS PICK. The witty Portland novelist (How I Paid for College; Attack of the Theatre People) and playwright (Holidazed) actually has a role in the opera. But when he’s backstage he’ll be blogging on the show at The Gospel According to Marc. Amazing exploit!

That’s all, folks. Until tonight. News at … oh, 6:30, 7, 7:15, 8, 8:30 ….


PHOTO: This is not Mr. Scatter. Not by a long shot. It’s Storm Large. Credit: Laura Domela

Movies into operas: the great Cocteau/Glass experiment

“I’ve never been very interested in film,” Philip Glass said one morning this week at a long table set up in a rehearsal hall in the Portland Opera studios. “I don’t go to movies a lot.”

Jean Cocteau in his 20s. Wikimedia Commons

An odd confession from Glass, the 72-year-old composer who was in town for several days in conjunction with Friday night’s opening of the West Coast premiere of his 1993 opera Orphee at Portland Opera.

Orphee is, after all, one of a trilogy of operas that Glass has written based on the transcendent movies of Jean Cocteau (the others are La Belle et la Bete and Les Enfants Terribles).

And in a time when classical performers (Yo Yo Ma, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli) achieve celebrity but composers ordinarily don’t, Glass has become famous partly because of his forays into film, beginning with the hallucinatory Koyaanisqatsi in 1982.

Original poster for "La Belle et la Bete." Wikimedia Commons

Still, what he said made sense, especially when you consider the ways that he’s interacted with film — he’s hardly Hollywood-mainstreamed it — and the sentence he added immediately after his confession: “And yet film is an important aspect of the collaborative arts.”

Collaboration, he said, is one of the great attractions of the film world: It’s filled with extremely talented artists working toward a goal. The technology is amazing. And of course, compared to any of the performing arts, movies are seen: “The reach of film is extraordinary.”

How extraordinary? Glass recalled a story about the day Godfrey Reggio, the director of Koyaanisqatsi, called to tell him their movie was going to be shown on PBS:

Philip Glass in Florence, 1993. Pasquale Salerno/Wikimedia Commons

“I said, ‘What’s that mean?’

“He said, ‘It means 6 million people will see it that night.’

“I practically fainted. That is not a number that comes into my work very often.”

As it turns out, Reggio’s guess of 6 million viewers was off the mark. Twenty million tuned in.

And that’s how a composer becomes famous, minimalism or maximalism or any other ism aside. Who outside of the pop world is even better-known than Glass as a composer? John Williams, composer for the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman and first three Harry Potter movies.

So. The movies, yes. Glass noted that he did a little work on film crews to pick up extra money when he was a young man living in Paris, and even acted — pretty badly, he said wryly — in a few bit parts.

But he noticed something about film: “It was not an interpretive art form, it was a definitive art form.”

By that he meant, once a film is finished it’s frozen. That’s its form forever and ever, world without end, amen, amen. You can remake with new stars, but then it’s a new work. You can even do virtual scene-for-scene homages like Werner Herzog’s ravishing remake of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu or Gus Van Sant’s frame-for-frame re-do of Psycho, which had all of Hollywood scratching its collective head. But those, too, become their own discrete objects.

A play or a symphony or an opera, on the other hand, is an elusive, transformational thing, taking on new shapes and layers of meaning with each successive performance: The idea of Carmen today, after thousands of performances, is somehow different from anything Bizet imagined, Glass suggested.

“And then,” he said, “it occurred to me that maybe I could look at film in a different way.”

Continue reading Movies into operas: the great Cocteau/Glass experiment