In 2011, I was for the first time in Bayreuth and had the good fortune to attend their new production of Meistersinger. What I particularly appreciated was the enormous effort of Katharina Wagner to think out of the box and bring a brilliant new take on this masterpiece. While half of the hall enjoyed the show at as much as I did, the other half thought it was horrendous and when the time came for the director to appear on stage, she was literally submerged with boos and hostility.
Why is contemporary music so frightening to audiences and artists? Why do people have hesitations (to be polite…) in attending contemporary music concerts?
Many of our preconceptions about music are a legacy of the late eighteenth century: a period in which music, both in the courts and in the large urban centers, assumed a very specific aesthetic, a formal connotation more defined than ever.
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