Great Performances: Peter Sellars

Before the start of his modern-dress adaptation of Mozart’s 1786 opera, Peter Sellars pops up to bray, ”Stay tuned for an evening of out-of-control sexual exploitation and aggression, political theory, and big entertainment!” And more power to this spiky-haired little rabble-rouser: Sellars wants to remind us that in the age of Jesse Helms and 2 Live Crew it’s not just popular art that deals in provocative themes. Sellars sets this satire of an arrogant upper class and a scheming lower class on the 52nd floor of Manhattan’s Trump Tower — ”high up and low down,” as Sellars puts it in his introduction. As an opera oaf, I’m not really qualified to judge the performances in Great Performances: Peter Sellars Directs ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, but as a television watcher, I can say that Sellars’ updating is clever and funny. The way he’s chosen to film the opera — with the performers singing to the accompaniment of a live orchestra — gives the production an exciting feeling of immediacy. A-

Great Performances: Peter Sellars
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