Music: Unlocking the Essence of Opera

"I have nothing to guide me but the music. The music leads you across a no man's land of what can be right or wrong on the stage." That could be any stage director making the usual bow to opera in general and the fraternal order of composers in particular.

But Italy's Giorgio Strehler, who was responsible for the opening productions of both La Scala and the Paris Opéra, is no ordinary director. When he says the music comes first, he means it. When he uses the phrase no man's land, he means that too;...

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