American Opera – Quantity Over Quality?

“It sometimes seems as if it has become a proof of virility for some American opera houses that they should have at least one premiere in every season. But it is the quantity that apparently matters far more than quality, governed by the overriding principle that whatever the chosen composers produce must never challenge the house’s core audience too seriously. Just as it is no accident that the leading American opera directors of today – Robert Wilson, Peter Sellars, David and Christopher Alden – now work far more regularly in Europe than at home, while houses like the New York Met continue to favour the lavish, reactionary naturalism of Franco Zeffirelli, so the American opera composers who thrive are those who are content to serve up blandness, preferably with a story taken from a well known novel or play.”