Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Salle Favart, once again home to L'Opéra Comique.
L'Opéra Comique operates much like Theater an der Wien, offering on average one production per month in strict stagione.
Like Theater an der Wien, L'Opéra Comique lacks its own chorus and orchestra, and engages existing ensembles of appropriate size on a per-production basis. Its productions are often shared with or imported from other theaters, and its recent history suggests that L'Opéra Comique is obliged to focus on small-scale works requiring limited resources.
L'Opéra Comique appears to lack the lavish funding, political muscle and artistic cachet Roland Geyer, over the last decade, has managed to bring to Theater an der Wien. (Geyer should be the person running the Metropolitan Opera; he is probably the best in the world at what he does.) Theater an der Wien, which routinely engages international-level conductors, directors and singers, clearly operates on an entirely different level than the current Opéra-Comique.
It would seem to me that L'Opéra Comique needs to develop its own company—that is, its own chorus, orchestra, artistic staff and individual identity—if it is to survive and thrive long-term. As it stands now, L'Opéra Comique is a little more than a roadhouse for touring productions, and might easily be shut down at the next change of government.