With each breath and step we take, a sliver of history is created: Micro-history, I like to call it. Macro-history, however, is created via demonstrable over-arches that bend the arc of narrative…at least, and until–in the case of records–they are replaced.
Such will be the case later this week when the Dallas Opera steals most of the fine-arts thunder nationwide, when it simulcasts a ‘live feed’ of its current production of The Magic Flute on Saturday April 28, 2012 . With well over 30,000 expected to attend the event at Cowboy Stadium (5 times higher than the original block of seats allocated), it will for certain become the most attended live operatic simulcast in American History…at least for now.
The introspect here–when examining perspective–is that history is about to be made thanks to, well…history! The decades old, ever audience/family friendly, almost vaudevillian August Everding production of Flute (originating at the Lyric Opera of Chicago) seems to be the perfect vehicle to drive those 30-some-odd-thousand people to the stadium. If Mr. Everding were alive (having worked with him on this production myself), I am sure he would be delighted that the history making production he created so long ago was going to be creating history anew.
Mr. Everding was an affable man to my recollection; quick to smile, broad of thinking, but always on the cutting edge. His equally momentous, but now somewhat dated, staging of the Ring brought us trampolines, bungee cords, and neon lighting…’tres au courant’ for the late 80’s and early 90’s. He never did, however, lose sight of the ‘humanity of characterization'; something that is profoundly important in this particular Magic Flute. Faithfully remounted but somewhat revised over the years by Matthew Lata, I find it a real treat (and challenge) to revisit ALL of the characters (not just my own) in this rollicking, funny, timely,–and yes–poignant story telling of Mozart’s final opera.
Please remember: We are here to entertain and charm an audience; as well as convey a tale of maturation, fidelity, love, and indeed discord. Mr. Lata has one golden rule of directorial advice that he provides to himself: “Never argue with an audience response.” Well if that’s the case, then this past weekend’s opening at the Winspear Opera House is a giant (Texas sized stadium) success. With a cast of Mozartean greats, and greats to be; this overall event will surely result in a clamor among Opera Company Administrators all across the country, where the eye on the prize will be: “How can we top what they just did in Dallas??”
This should be fun; and will again give new meaning to the old show-biz adage, “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success”!!!
P.s. I would like to thank Gene (and Jerry) Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboy’s Football franchise, as well as Phil Whitfield (docent) for the personal and OUTSTANDING tour of the facility. It was a real pleasure to see a stadium so filled with fine contemporary art, and superb seating for all the fans! I only regret not being able to actually SEE the Opera Simulcast, since I will be performing as a part of it, of course!!! The HD feed on a screen that is over 70 feet tall, and 60 yards wide, will be a real eye popper for the 35K-40K that attend The Magic Flute over hot dogs/beer/soda. Mozart would be so proud!!!