Wednesday, Sept 21, 2011: Opera’s ‘Emotional Park’

What would the canvas of your 'opera emotional park' look like?

Building Opera’s ‘Emotional Park’

“People usually say opera is difficult, that they don’t understand it. Well, I think it might be better if we don’t try to understand it.”

That may be an unusual point of view, considering that it comes from Rocc. As of January 1st next year he will be the new artistic director of Prague’s National Theatre, combined with the State Opera. The tall, thin young man who uses only one name shared some of his interesting opinions recently with Opus Osm.

“It might be better if we stop trying to understand opera logically,” Rocc continues, “and instead use our intuition, our seeing, hearing, and feeling.” The former dramaturg of Slovenia’s National Theatre opera and deputy artistic director of the Janáček Opera at the National Theatre Brno is brimming with exciting new ideas.

“We’re – all of us – loaded with logical information today,” he points out. “Opera should be a kind of ‘emotional park’ where you can rest, and enjoy the beauty and your feelings.”

Smoothing the Merger

Rocc is currently artistic director of the opera ensemble

Rocc’s goal is to make the upcoming transition during the merger of the National Theatre and State Opera Prague as easy as possible for everyone, he says. “Nothing will be destroyed” by the merger, he emphasizes. Although the current casts are understandably nervous about their futures, the existing contracts with all the performers will be prolonged, he explains.

There will still be two orchestras and two choirs, those of the National Theatre and of the State Opera, and both will continue on a completely equal level. The only loss will be the elimination of “Prague” after the State Opera’s name.

“The audience won’t even feel the transformation,” he predicts.

Building an Opera Studio

However, the audience can look forward to some extra attractions, the enthusiastic director says. “We’ll be making an Opera Studio where new singers can gain experience, and work on their acting and language skills,” he promises.

“And my biggest personal wish – since I come from the ‘underground’ world of contemporary opera – is that each season we must have a new, contemporary opera.” Indeed, Phantom of the Opera is already on the State Opera’s schedule this year for three performances in October and one each in November and next January.

Stirring up the old traditional scheduled repertoire by adding some juicy contemporary works is essential, he believes, as is appealing to a young audience – without leaving the older ones behind.

“This is how opera develops and leads on,” he says.

It promises to be a fresh, exciting new season in “opera park.”

Keep watching. – oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Photo illustration: Mary Matz; bottom, Státni Opera Praha

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