What kind of a world are we living in?
Lies and deception are in fashion. "Post-truth" was the buzz word of 2016, at least in the Anglophone world. The term denotes an age in which the truth has lost its relevance. Where emotion and personal conviction have a greater chance of influencing opinion than objective facts. According to many analysts, we are living in a post-truth reality; a world where evidence and facts that contradict opinion or a political narrative are denied; where public figures can say one thing now and the opposite later without shame; where disinformation and fake news are disseminated to control opinion; a world where reality TV takes real people and turns them into two dimensional stereotypes; where the daily news makes some of the most outlandish opera plots look rational.
Here at the Göteborg Opera we are on a different mission. We are making honest, truthful fiction; we bring made-up characters to life as complex, detailed, and multidimensional human beings. Through music and song we can imagine ourselves into someone else's world.
In the 2017/2018 season you can reflect on the world around us through some of the greatest music ever written.
Opera and music theatre offer a space to exercise our imaginations and emotions. The combination of words to engage our intellect, images to excite our visual cortex, and music to delve into our subconscious and awaken deep human emotions is intense and healthy - as well as extremely pleasurable. As we join the artists in imagining the inner life of people in extraordinary situations, our empathy muscles get the best work out. And if imagination and empathy are the noblest of human attributes, you will leave the theatre with your humanity reinvigorated.
Don't forget: it's your opera house.
In the 2017/2018 season you can reflect on the world around us through some of the greatest music ever written. While these stories may have been written about distant and different times, the universal themes these works explore are as important today as when the pieces were conceived. The characters on stage may be honest, truthful and multidimensional, but I don't want to mislead you: they are not all angels!
In the season premiere, Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Weill's Die Sieben Todsünden present an immoral group of graspers… but how can they be so selfish and sing such beautiful and seductive music? O mio babbino caro is an enchanting aria, but do you know what it's about? Greedy liars!
Speaking of manipulation, Mussorgsky's masterpiece Boris Godunov brings us an examination of power politics at its most Machiavellian in Peter Konwitschny's astounding production. Political liars!
In Bellini's Norma we meet a woman whose political, religious and private lives are in fatal conflict: a beautiful soul living a tragic lie. Then there is pure joy in the skilful trickery, ludicrous lies and, especially, in Rossini's life affirming music, in the farcical drama of love and deception Il barbieri di Siviglia. Charming lies with hilarious outcomes.
This season there's also some properly theatrical fun to be had in two pieces of back stage drama. Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera explores the dark, dangerous and sensual energy behind a musical obsession, while Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos sets popular entertainment and high culture against each other, with surreal results. Ariadne auf Naxos strikes a chord here at the Göteborg Opera as we aim to present "serious" art, but also like to let our hair down for evenings of sheer entertainment.
We can't solve the problems of the world, but we can offer a place where we can come together to reflect, imagine, dream, cry and laugh. So if you are wondering how to respond to our post-truth reality, a trip to join us in our honest, musical world of make-believe could be a good start.
I look forward to seeing you here, and hearing what you think. Don't forget: it's your opera house.
Artistic Director Opera/Drama