Staatstheater Nürnberg
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Opera is a strange art. No other art form refers so strongly to its own past, draws so much from a canon of traditional works.

A handful of composers determine the repertoire today, new pieces hardly ever make it into this core repertoire - or only with a delay of a few decades. Its detractors therefore consider the opera to have outlived its usefulness. In doing so, however, they underestimate the power that is released when seemingly well-known works are put up for discussion again and again. The characters of the well-known operas become archetypes, by whose survival and ever new form we can recognise how society and its themes change. Today's view of yesterday is possibly the one in which the present explains itself most clearly. How we evaluate the past makes our own point of view visible. This applies not only to art, but just as much to politics, philosophy, social and technological developments.

Nevertheless, we must not rely on the canon. We need to expand it: by rediscovering old works like "Talestri" by the Electress Maria Antonia Walpurgis, or by creating the space for new plays like Anno Schreier's "Turing". We can no more predict whether these works will remain in the repertoire than the audience of the premières of "Woman without a shadow", "Figaro" or "Falstaff" could in their day. But they belong to our understanding of opera as a permanent work on the present.

Your Jens-Daniel Herzog
Artistic Director of Staatstheater Nürnberg and Director of Opera

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