Friday, January 21, 2011

Mike Figgis Goes To The Opera

(Photo: David Levene/The Guardian)
"Mike Figgis is about to make his debut as an opera director at English National Opera. But his production of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia is hardly the fulfilment of a dream for the 62-year-old Oscar-nominated director. 'I was never an opera-goer growing up. I was a jazz musician. I'd go and see Miles Davis. It would never cross my mind to go to the opera. My only preconceptions about opera were based on clips I had seen, to be honest.' He smiles sheepishly beneath his mop of hair. 'I only went to my first opera three or four years ago, when my girlfriend took me to the Met in New
York.' But opera was terra incognita until ENO came calling. What does Figgis remember of that first opera he saw in New York? 'It was Verdi, the one where she's dying. Actually, that could be any opera, couldn't it?' La Traviata, maybe? 'Yes, La Traviata! My mouth kept dropping open at the sheer audacity of the storytelling. It's unlike any other form I'd ever seen. In my films, I sweat blood to make big plot points and character arcs work, whereas in opera, the story is just a series of headlines. But then I found myself really drawn in by the music, and the unique relationship between the music and the story. You can have an incredibly elastic relationship between the drama and the score. I've written film music all my life, so I've always understood the power of music to manipulate an audience. So opera, in a way, has been my thing all along. I've just never gone into the official business before.'" [Source]

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