|Theatre director Michael Attenborough: Modern opera is rubbish|
|Written by news desk - telegraph.co.uk|
Michael Attenborough, the son of Lord Attenborough, has put an end to the annual opera festival at the Almeida, the theatre he runs in London.
After Michael Grandage followed the example of Sir Peter Hall and seamlessly made the transition from stage to opera directing at Glyndebourne, another leading figure in theatreland has washed his hands of it.
Michael Attenborough, the son of Lord Attenborough, has ditched the annual opera festival that was once a mainstay of the Almeida, the theatre he runs in north London.
“I felt no artistic kinship with the opera festival,” the 62-year-old director says, unapologetically. “Modern opera studiously avoids anything so old-fashioned as melody or emotion, which seems to me a contradiction of what music is all about.”
Attenborough has instead established a summer festival at the theatre, which is more closely linked to its mainstream programme and the work of Young Friends of the Almeida.
“Research showed there was no crossover between the opera festival audience and our theatre audience. So the festival now is designed to open up our doors to new audiences who might want to see the rest of our stuff.”
Attenborough adds that he is hoping to persuade Sir Richard Eyre to return to his theatre to direct his translation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts.
Grandage’s production of Le nozze di Figaro at Glyndebourne in June — his second production at the venue after Billy Budd in 2010 — won rave reviews from the opera critics of every publication from The Daily Telegraph to The Lady.