I had an interview a few weeks ago. It…umm…didn’t go well. It was for the Glimmerglass Opera Young Artists Program. They had the previous year began a Musical Theater program, and they had very respectable theater directors working on the pieces. I’ve made no secret that I simply don’t know the lexicon of opera, but I understand music and singing. And I really could have improved upon Nabucco (see previous blog.) I thought they would see that I was exactly what they were looking for – an intelligent director who could speak their language but with a fresh pair of eyes. And they would see the immense potential for growth as this is a... nope.

I was practically laughed out of the room. The overwhelming subtext was “and what are you doing here exactly?” We didn’t focus at all about what I could bring to opera, rather on the fact that I didn’t know much. It was very disheartening. But I had one more trick in my pocket. I asked them how the addition of theater has changed their philosophy of programming and performance. I’d get in that way… fail! The response was, and I roughly quote: “Well it hasn’t changed much at all. Most of us grew up loving theater and we found opera in college so its really the same thing. We are just as comfortable doing Sondheim.” It was at that moment, I realized. We have nothing more to say to each other. Well – one more thing (I didn’t say it to him – so I’ll say it to you): Sir, you have what is undeniably a dying art form. Perhaps a few more fresh pairs of eyes might me exactly what you need. Someone who isn’t bogged down by what’s necessarily “supposed” to happen but is knowledgeable and respectful of the rules of opera. I’m not saying that person is necessarily me, but wouldn’t I be better than the alternative? The musician with no directing experience who gets one of his first jobs directing at the Met and creates one of the most bland theatrical experiences I ever had? I guess if that’s the latter is the way they are continuing to move then time will be the judge. One last thing, I was definitely one of the youngest people at the Met by a good two decades - so it seems like time already may be done judging and we’re just awaiting sentence.

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