Tony Hall, the head of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, has just been appointed to become the new boss of the BBC.
He will bring with him:
- Sparafucile – the hit man from Rigoletto
- Love potions from L’Elisir d’Amore and Tristan und Isolde
- Le Droit du Seigneur from The Marriage of Figaro
- The libido of Don Giovanni
- Elephants from Aida
- A dagger from Carmen
- Soft soap from the Barber of Seville
- Patience from Der Ring des Nibelungen
Wolfgang Rihm (born 1952) is a prolific German composer of several operas and over a hundred string quartets. Among those who have commissioned works by him is the New York Philharmonic. A new opera of his, the Nietzsche-inspired Dionysos, will open this year’s Salzburg Festival.
Rihm was asked whether the audience will understand it.
“You don’t have to explain anything,” he replied. “I don’t want to explain anything. As soon as you start explaining things, it becomes so school-teachery, with all that pointing and knowing better. I make art, I don’t know any better. And this not-knowing is what I do best. This not-knowing is not a cross I have to bear, this ability not to know is a gift.”