29 September 2019

“Slave Play”: Can a Subaltern Consent

In her 2011 book, Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality, Margot Weiss, an anthropologist, links BDSM games to the complex nexus of socioeconomic power relations, involving gender, race, economic and social status, and whatever else might affect the distribution of power in human affairs. Doing much of her research in the San […]

Continue Reading

5 August 2018

The Comic Frame of Sławomir Mrożek: Or, How to Tell if You Live in a Totalitarian Country

On August 15, 2013, the Polish dramatist, writer, and cartoonist Sławomir Mrożek died at the age of 83 in Nice, France, his home since 2008. Throughout his long and rich career, Mrożek created a diverse body of work, consisting of plays, short stories, and cartoons, all characterized by a very particular sense of irony, often […]

Continue Reading

1 May 2018

The Wooster Group’s “A Pink Chair” – Can You Ever Return?

The Wooster Group’s newest production, A Pink Chair (In Place of a Fake Antique) was commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Tadeusz Kantor centennial as a tribute to the famous Polish director. The show is based on Kantor’s 1988 piece, I Shall Never Return and his 1942 adaptation of Stanisław Wyspiański’s […]

Continue Reading

27 March 2018

The Context of Contemporary Polish Theatre: Spotlight on Poland

Today, we are launching The Spotlight on Poland. Here’s the context….. Following the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its regime in Eastern Europe, Polish theatre found itself without a subject. Always political during the forty years of communist rule, and with a clearly defined objective, Polish […]

Continue Reading

10 December 2016

The Theatre Times: Why? Why Now?

TheTheatreTimes.com is a non-partisan, global portal for theatre news. With an expanding collaborative team of Regional Managing Editors around the world, we aim to be the largest global theatre news source online. TheTheatreTimes.com publishes news stories on daily basis from a variety of sources. In addition to original content, we have agreements with many regional […]

Continue Reading

21 October 2015

Boston’s Theater Scene: Not All Arts Are Created Equal

Emerson College’s plan to reconfigure the historic Colonial Theatre into a multipurpose space, including a student cafeteria, has shocked the arts community. Meanwhile, other theaters in Boston are also facing closure. The arts are in crisis we are told, and it’s true. But the arts have always been in crisis in some way, and we […]

Continue Reading

28 September 2015

La Bohème: BLO’s Version

Boston Lyric Opera’s version of La Bohèmerelocates the famous opera from mid-19th-century Paris to the Paris of May 1968. The geographical location remains the same: the Latin Quarter neighborhood, which preserves much of the original bohemian spirit with students, artists, and vagabonds of all sorts hanging out at cafés, making art, and debating matters of […]

Continue Reading

12 May 2015

Opera Blog: The Ethics of “Don Giovanni”

Don Giovanni premiered in 1787, eleven years after the start of the American Revolution and two years before the French Revolution. This was the twilight of the Enlightenment, an era that officially ended in the 1780s. Although many versions of Don Giovanni’s story were performed across Europe (in dramatic, operatic, and ballet forms), Mozart’s retelling […]

Continue Reading

7 May 2015

Opera Blog: “Don Giovanni” – The Law of the Father

One of the most compelling characters of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is the figure of the Commendatore, Donna Anna’s murdered father, who returns from the dead to avenge himself and his daughter. In the 18th century, Mozart’s portrayal of the Commendatore carried two important semiotic frameworks. First, as the father figure, the Commendatore symbolized patriarchal power […]

Continue Reading

4 May 2015

Opera Blog: BLO’s Version of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”

During preparations for the Prague premiere of Don Giovanni in October of 1787, Mozart was, as ever, heavily involved with all aspects of the production, from the music and the staging to writing the libretto. In fact, he continued writing and rewriting until the opening and even after. The second production, in Vienna, which opened […]

Continue Reading

29 April 2015

Opera Blog: “Don Giovanni” in Prague and Vienna

Although we don’t know the exact date of Mozart’s arrival in Prague for the production of Don Giovanni, we do know that he was actively involved in shaping the libretto and the staging. His first letter from Prague, dated August 24, 1787, suggests that he had already spent some time in the city, though scholars […]

Continue Reading

27 April 2015

Opera Blog: The Legend of Don Giovanni (or, Don Giovanni before “Don Giovanni”)

Abert, Hermann. Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” London: Eulenburg Books, 1976.The origins of the Don Giovanni legend reach back to the Middle Ages, but the character didn’t become fully fleshed out until the Renaissance, when it first appeared in the 1630 comedy, El Burlador de Sevilla y convidado de pietra, by the monk Tirso de Molina (although […]

Continue Reading

24 April 2015

Opera Blog: The Women of Don Giovanni

By the 18th century, educated women were beginning to question male freedoms and dominance of society, and starting to demand similar freedoms for themselves. Many men were also increasingly uneasy about their own social and economic privileges, especially the moral latitude shown toward male sexuality (as opposed to the constraints placed on female sexuality). The […]

Continue Reading

17 March 2015

Opera Blog: Conversation with Michael Beckerman about “Kátya Kabanová”

Magda Romanska, BLO Dramaturg and Associate Professor of Dramaturgy at Emerson College, talks to Prof. Michael Beckerman, a world-renowned musicologist, specializing in Czech and Eastern European music and the works of Janáček, Dvořák, and Martinu. Prof. Beckerman is a recipient of the Janáček Medal from the Czech Republic and a Laureate of the Czech Music […]

Continue Reading

3 March 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – The Drowned Woman and The Cult of L’Inconnue

A note before we begin… What is a death mask? A death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a deceased person’s face. While certainly unusual today, death masks were a common and important method of commemorating the deaths of important figures throughout history. For instance, you can see the death mask of […]

Continue Reading

26 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” and Aleksandr Ostrovsky’s “Groza”

Leoš Janáček’s Kátya Kabanová is based on an 1859 Russian play by Aleksandr Nikolayevich Ostrovsky, titled Groza (The Storm, also known as The Thunderstorm). Often considered a precursor of Anton Chekhov, Ostrovsky wrote 48 original plays and “almost single-handedly created a Russian national repertoire.”Considered Ostrovsky’s masterpiece and a classic of Russian theatre, The Storm depicts […]

Continue Reading

25 February 2015

Mieczysław Weinberg’s Opera “The Passenger”: On Memory and Forgetting

“The Passenger” at New York’s Lincoln Center © Stephanie Berger Polish classical musicians and opera singers have always enjoyed global renown, with singers such as Mariusz Kwiecień, Ewa Podleś, Piotr Beczała, Aleksandra Kurzak, and Andrzej Dobber regularly performing at the world’s top opera houses. Likewise, Polish opera directors have been successful abroad—most recently Mariusz Treliński […]

Continue Reading

20 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – Political and Cultural Context

The scholar of Central Europe, Larry Wolff (2006) classifies Kátya Kabanová as a modernist opera, arguing that its history “illuminates the development of operatic modernism on the terrain of the late Hapsburg Empire, which was reconceived as the transnational domain of Central Europe after the demise of the Empire at the end of World War […]

Continue Reading

18 February 2015

Opera Blog: “Kátya Kabanová” – Love, Death and Marriage

So often I imagine I’m a bird And can spread my wings and fly. I used to be so free and happy, But since I came here to live that’s all changed. —Kátya Kabanová Marital Woes Leoš Janáček’s 1921 opera, Kátya Kabanová, is foremost a study of marriage as a social institution and its effects […]

Continue Reading

13 February 2015

Opera Blog: Kátya Kabanová – The Woman Behind the Story

The character of Kátya Kabanová was modeled on Kamila Stösslová (1892–1935), whom Janáček met in 1917 at a spa. Married to an antique dealer, Kamila was very beautiful, a mother, and 38 years younger than Janáček. Most of Janáček’s major works were inspired and often dedicated to her. They include Zápisník zmizelého [The diary of […]

Continue Reading

25 November 2014

Opera Blog: A Conversation with Byron Adams about “The Love Potion”

Magda Romanska, BLO Dramaturg and Associate Professor of Dramaturgy at Emerson College, talks to Prof. Byron Adams about Frank Martin’s The Love Potion. Prof. Adams is a world-renowned musicologist, composer, and a leading expert on Frank Martin. Prof. Adams specializes in British music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His essays have appeared in journals […]

Continue Reading

20 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – Love Death, or Liebestod

“Liebestod” is the title of the final dramatic musical piece from Richard Wagner’s 1859 opera, Tristan und Isolde, but the word itself also means the theme of “love death” prevalent in art, drama, and literature. Liebestod (from the German Liebe, meaning “love,” and Tod, meaning “death”) defines the lovers’ consummation of their love in death […]

Continue Reading

17 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – Background Story

Written by Switzerland’s greatest composer, Frank Martin (1890–1974), in the late 1930s, Le Vin Herbé was initially conceived as a 30-minute piece in response to Robert Blum’s commission for his Züricher Madrigalchor. Wanting to distance himself from Wagner and his operatic version of the myth (and, thus, also from the Nazis, who glorified Wagner’s music), […]

Continue Reading

13 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – BLO’s Version

One of the most prominent characteristics of The Love Potion is the opera’s structure: twelve singers tell the story, which is constantly flowing, while supported by haunting and almost hypnotic music. That type of dramatic structure closely follows the tradition of the Greek Chorus, in which the plot is driven by chorus members who assume […]

Continue Reading

10 November 2014

Opera Blog: “The Love Potion” – The Myth of Tristan and Iseult

The legend of Tristan and Iseult’s love is one of the founding and most enduring myths of Western culture. The exact origins of the legend are difficult to pinpoint, as the story appears in Celtic, Persian, Irish, French, German, British, and Welsh traditions. Over time, its appeal spread to Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia, and […]

Continue Reading

18 October 2014

Opera Blog: A Conversation with David Rosen about “La Traviata”

Magda Romanska, BLO Dramaturg and Associate Professor at Emerson College, talks to Prof. David Rosen about Verdi’s La Traviata. Prof. Rosen is a world-renowned musicologist, a leading expert on Verdi, and Professor Emeritus of Music at Cornell University. Prof. Rosen was responsible for the critical edition of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem (published in The Works […]

Continue Reading

10 October 2014

Opera Blog: “La Traviata” – Background Story

La Traviata, a melodrama in three acts, was set to a libretto by Verdi’s longtime collaborator Francesco Maria Piave and is based on Alexandre Dumas fils’ play, La Dame aux Camélias (The Lady of the Camellias). The play itself was adapted from Dumas’ novel of the same title, which was published in the summer of […]

Continue Reading

10 October 2014

Opera Blog: “La Traviata” – Beautiful Death

“The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” —Edgar Allan Poe, “Philosophy of Composition,”  originally appeared in Graham’s Magazine, published in Philadelphia, in April 1846   The 19th-century affair with death is no great news to anyone even remotely familiar with its art or literature. It was a […]

Continue Reading

27 September 2014

Opera Blog: “La Traviata” – Love for Sale

In the first volume of his sprawling 19th-century novel, In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust chronicles the tale of Charles Swann, an upper-class member of French society, and his obsessive love for Odette de Crécy, a popular and attractive Parisian courtesan. Although Swann is able to buy Odette’s time and body, he is unable […]

Continue Reading

23 July 2014

Building the Future for Opera in a Digital World

During the last week of June, I chaired the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) conference, which took place in Boston and was hosted by Emerson College, my home institution. The annual gathering is a chance for dramaturgs across the U.S. and Canada to come together and exchange ideas about their craft and the […]

Continue Reading