A fine line

Before I got here I assumed that the Opera Theatre Saint Louis (let’s just call it OTSL from now on) was a repertory opera company that performed throughout the year, but it’s actually a summer-only set-up. Its closest equivalent in Britain would be Glyndebourne, although that gives entirely the wrong impression. For starters no-one here wears evening dress to the performances, nor is OTSL a company that aims to appeal to an exclusive audience as part of “the season”. It performs in an unusual theatre that seats about 900, which is intimate by American standards, and the audience is arranged in an amphitheatre around a thrust-stage. There is a proscenium too but because the audience is arranged in a 180 degree arc anything played behind it is lost to a large chunk of the house. So they don’t tend to do that.

High Kleiber diet

It’s funny how a few things in life can come together to plant a single notion in your head. Today, everything for me has suddenly become about authenticity. Not so-called “authentic performance” as it relates to classical music (which, I’m afraid, 50% of the time is about as authentic as a TV advert for stain remover) but meaning being genuine and true.
I was lucky enough to see the National Theatre’s “Hamlet” before Christmas where the desperate search for authenticity was the motor for Rory Kinnear’s brilliant performance, so perhaps there’s something in the air, or this has been germinating in my head for a few months.