Andrei Konchalovsky: The role of a stage director in opera requires humility. My task is, first of all, not to take away from the listener the music for which this art exists. Especially when you stage an opera by a genius composer. The primary role on the stage belongs to conductor and singers. For me the main thing in staging operas is to try to evoke in a viewer a sense of aesthetic harmony of the visible with the audible. For me, the works by Giorgio Strehler and Patrice Chéreau are forever unreachable examples. That is why I cannot afford the psychological analysis that Shakespeare’s Othello requires being staged on a dramatic stage.
Copying form what we real may be a good thing but, but inventing what is real is better, much better. There seems to be a contradiction in these words, “invent what is real”, but ask Papa*. It is possible that he had to come across somebody like Falstaff, but it is unlikely he ever met anyone as evil as Iago, and never, ever angels like Cordelia, Imogen, Desdemona, etc., etc., and yet they are so real! To copy from what is real may be a good thing, but it is photography. It is not painting.
From Verdi’s letter to Clara Maffei, October 20, 1876
*Verdi means Shakespeare