As in many other things, my beliefs about what make valid directing, whether in Opera or in Theatre, hover nicely in mid-Atlantic.
When I started out as a director and assistant director of opera in Germany, I was reared and educated within the German Regietheater “tradition”. Quite early on I felt uneasy with the unquestioned dictum that only the envelope furthest pushed in the direction of the unseen, unheard, and then, alas, often uncalled-for production choices, make for valid operatic theatre.
My academic background is Philosophy and Musicology, and both these disciplines make me find any directorial approach from the ground up, from the score, or the dramatic text. That said, I don’t believe directing is illustrating what is already put in text and/or music, but the third dimension, the stage, needs to add another layer of storytelling, bringing to the fore what is lodged within script and score, digging under the surface. In literary terms this could be called a hermeneutic approach: taking a historic text/music, trying to understand it on its terms, and then reflecting on my means of comprehension as a person of the 21st century, a woman, white, educated within a certain culture etc.
In the dynamic of these poles I unearth a hopefully valid reading of any given piece, be it opera or drama. Not the end-all of productions, but a rendering that is faithful to what I found in the text/music, with the creative means available to me, this particular director and artist, nobody else. Always hoping, of course, that my findings will be interesting to an audience, opening the imagination and allow it to experience any piece I direct as a powerful force.