Lincoln Center Festival Hosts Groundbreaking ‘Flute’

By July 21, 2011Music
Mozart at Lincoln Center

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Brooks’s unique interpretation of Mozart’s opera, which only features 7 singers, two actors and a pianist, is said to be the highlight of this summer’s Lincoln Center Festival.

The legendary director’s opera has already toured Europe and is on its way to South America.

This is how Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed describes the new opera:

The stage is bare but for bamboo poles. The opera is shortened to 90 minutes and performed without a break. Gone are the three ladies, the three boys, the chorus, the orchestra, the overture, nearly an additional third of Mozart’s score and a certain amount of silliness.

Various reports of the U.S. premiere of this production imported from Paris have included “stripped down,” “streamlined,” “muted,” “distilled.” It has been called a “slimmer,” a “slender” and even a “drive-by” version of, as well as a “tasting menu” from, Mozart’s beloved opera.


Brook’s less-is-more style provides an occasion for amplification. Indeed, what is most strikingly distilled down to essences is not Mozart but Brook, who employs devices from many Asian and African theatrical traditions.

Swed goes on to explain that this isn’t the first time Brooks has done “reconstructive operatic surgery”, citing his version of Debussey’s “Pelléas et Melisande” and Bizet’s “Carmen” as examples.

He says:

The innovation here is creating the impression that an opera score can seem spontaneous even improvisational at points…Ultimately, the most intriguing aspect of this “Flute,” though, may be that a sense of serious ritual and of play need not be in conflict.

What do you think about the various ways that directors interpret operas?  Should they be tampering with the century’s old-music or is it time to see fresh takes?

To see Kevin Sullivan’s version of Mozart’s world-famous opera, click here!

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