Robert Carsen: "We face an ecological curse" | Culture

Robert Carsen: "We face an ecological curse" | Culture



Robert Carsen believes that the theater is a refuge against the passage of time. A capsule in which you lock yourself to freeze it between a set of mirrors where you almost always end up learning something. "In life," says the Canadian stage director, "we are attracted to everything that alters the meaning of a chronometer. Sex, drugs … When we go to the theater, we do not do it just to enjoy a good text, some magnificent actors or an opera, but we manipulate the hours at our convenience. The best works of art address that. " And it is just what he demonstrates in his Wagnerian version of The Ring of the Nibelung, released this February in the Royal Theatre or now with Idomeneo, by Mozart, until March 1, under the baton of Ivor Bolton.

Two masters in the use of time at their own convenience. In Mozart, light; in Wagner with a supine contempt for what they call capacity for synthesis. Both powerful in their investigation of the enigmas. Ethereal and earthy, genial and fiercely human, haughty and prone to vital excess. Exposed to the mystery that Carsen explores and translates now into the Real with the Trojan War in the background of Mozart's work.

He does so as a great metaphor for the present translated into the drama of the refugees. Without excluding blame for the species when it is deaf and stubborn: "We can not say that people are innocent, we must realize that what we live today, in large part, is our fault. More than ever, it can not be said that we are free of it. The voice of hatred and resentment deafened us. We live a moral and spiritual recession. " Because we are falling into errors pointed out since antiquity and that still rebound in the memory of the living, but even so, they repeat themselves. Therefore, through opera or theater, it never hurts to take a trip to mythology: "The radically human. The one that understands the hopelessness, the impossibility of surviving the damage we do to Mother Nature, "says Carsen.

"In life, we are attracted by everything that alters the meaning of a chronometer. Sex, drugs … When we go to the theater, we do not do it just to enjoy a good text, some magnificent actors or an opera, but we manipulate the hours at our convenience "

The one who feels like a Canadian European, looks at the Mediterranean as the cradle of all the lessons: "The place whose passion gave rise to an art like opera. The most interesting of this genre lies in this balance between the concrete, the intellectual and the emotional. A libretto and the abstraction of music that makes it powerful: a language that takes you to places without concrete meaning ".

Myths and legends, with their multiple interpretations: "These stories are those that count as no human condition, like religions. Myths make us understand the place of man in the universe. Through them we convey that our place in the world has nothing to do with living as if we bought in a supermarket where you can choose what you want. We can not continue like this. We are facing an ecological curse. And our responsibility as artists is to teach that nobody makes the same mistakes as their parents. Not only learn not to fall into them, also understand why. "

And the opera represents a great vehicle to achieve it: "It is the most complete work of art. It combines all the disciplines so ambitiously that it teaches us the intuition of learning again what we have forgotten. It has the task of appealing to the subconscious to reinforce those principles that we have wasted. "

Wagner can drive you crazy, I believe it. It is a dangerous drug. Very intense, it develops in a parallel universe where you can not imagine staying forever "

With a language of its own. If something defines Carsen's style, it is that combination of visual poetry and movement. He is a master in that aspect as he has demonstrated with works such as Katia Kabanova (Janacek) or Dialogue of Carmelites (Poulenc), perhaps two of the most outstanding productions of recent years worldwide: "Opera is movement, it has nothing to do with a static art," he says.

He says it after a master of the opposite philosophy has preceded him in Madrid: Bob Wilson with his vision of Turandot (Puccini): "He's my friend. He has developed a whole language. I do not like to judge the work of others. But I do want to say that the obligation of a great contemporary opera theater is to show all the possible tendencies ".

And to defend his he has dedicated Carsen these two months in Madrid. First with his celebrated version of the Wagnerian tetralogy and now with Mozart as a counterpoint: "The ring… It can drive you crazy, I believe it. It is a dangerous drug. Very intense, it develops in a parallel universe where you can not imagine staying forever. It envelops you in your own conception of time. To lose yourself in your world and take advantage of the charm of the moment. That's what makes it especially addictive. I've always been aware of that. "

Perhaps he has escaped from his clutches following the teachings of some other gurus: "We are built in a way that does not allow us to imagine the world without us. It is only within the reach of the great gurus of meditation to achieve that egolessness. That which convinces us that we are not essential for the world to follow its course ".

He tries to convey it to the interpreters: "I feel great compassion for them. They expose so much … The theater is a microcosm of life with the only difference that in this there are no trials ". Neither capsules that disconnect you from the world: "Communion with the public should resemble a conversation. I try to imagine that the works we represent have just been written at the time and not 200 or 300 years ago. To summon them to life and not enclose them in a museum, we must bring the creators and composers together to modernity ".

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