MAVERICK: A Director's Personal Experience in Opera and Theater by Frank Corsaro

MAVERICK: A Director's Personal Experience in Opera and Theater

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Both Corsaro's fans (who find him innovative) and his detractors (who find him gimmicky) will recognize their man in this energetic, egotistic credo--wherein America's most controversial opera stage director describes and defends his approach, opera by opera. Citing as his two great influences Maria Callas and Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio (where he studied, acted, and directed), Corsaro exultantly explains how he strips moldy tradition away from opera and finds the real life underneath--via improvisation, character discussion, sense memory, and a return to source materials. Some of this, as demonstrated in rehearsals with Beverly Sills (Faust) and Placido Domingo (Traviata), is simply application of theater techniques to opera and simply splendid. Other notions--his determination to correct ""Verdi's inhibition in erotic matters,"" his conception of Don Giovanni as ""the dispenser of the Big O,"" or his desire to stage a pantomime of a creditor removing Violetta's jewelry during the delicate Act IV Traviata prelude--point up Corsaro's tendency toward insensitivity and painful literalness. And, throughout, there is his condescension toward colleagues and his implication that his is the only way to make 19th-century opera a valid emotional experience. Less alloyed are his achievements in contemporary opera with multimedia techniques, especially Janacek's Makropolous Affair and A Village Romeo and Juliet. Also discussed in detail are Pelleas and Mèlisande, Madama Butterfly (does Sharpless masturbate?), Coronation of Poppea, and Rinaldo. Knowledgeable opera people will devour this--and know just how to read it; impressionable neophytes should swallow only with supervision.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Vanguard