The Washington National Opera’s new “Nabucco” got people in town talking. I’ve gotten quite a bit of mail about it, from people who really enjoyed the evening and from people who absolutely hated it. I find the response really intriguing, because I didn’t feel this was “Konzeptregie” in the slightest: the director, Thaddeus Strassberger, had an idea about the piece that he wanted to get across, and it worked in some ways and not in others, but to me it was a fairly straightforward, literal staging — certainly in comparison with Hans Neuenfels’s production of the same opera in Berlin. I shudder to imagine what might happen if one put a chorus of bees on stage at the Kennedy Center. Others, however, found Strassberger’s take an offensive imposition of a concept on an innocent opera that did nothing to deserve it.
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