Siding with Mr Black

Can I just say that I love reading Mark Adamo’slethal injections blog posts on contemporary opera. This isn’t about sacred cows, but it is an absolute pleasure to read a critic prepared to go against the corporate opinion of the big papers and the wider new music crowd, and to do so with such coherence, detail and precision. If an opera doesn’t work, no matter how much we’d like it to be otherwise, someone has to have the courage to say so.


4 thoughts on “Siding with Mr Black

  1. Two cents: I for one really value your thoughts, because they are thoughts – criticism made up of carefully considered evaluation and reflection, backed by personal experience in the making of these things. They are not glib; they are not snarky; they are not nastiness for nastiness’ sake. The “intense thinking” you offer (as you mentioned), coupled with your perspective as a practitioner, makes your pieces to me indispensable to the conversation. And of course, the conversation is a very important part of art-making.

    I imagine you get some heat for criticizing a lion. But you’re not taking potshots. The very validity of what you say may make some people uncomfortable, but it is not uncollegial – it is exactly the sort of dialogue that I think sharpens everyone’s understanding. Personally, I’d love to hear a response from Adams et al., because I think your points are pretty unassailable, and I’d be curious if the artists in question consciously chose to reject these things, or if they just didn’t quite know how to deliver a deeper theatrical experience (which is okay, for Pete’s sake – we’re all groping toward the perfect expression, even the best of us, and if we’re not still figuring things out, after no matter how many years, then I think we’re not trying hard enough). I don’t expect such a response, but its lack of availability does not make your arguments less persuasive, valid, or proper.

    Anyway. Chalk up one vote for “Keep ’em comin.'”

  2. What I love about Adamo’s writing is that, even when I think he’s wrong (e.g. Klinghoffer), he’s wrong for all the right reasons. He’s so generous and articulate! That’s a hell of a lot more useful than the opinions of somebody whose tastes I might agree with, but who hasn’t thought them through.

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