In Brecht's work, especially focusing on "The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre," he describes the attempts to renovate art (via opera) into something more pleasing to society, instead of a discussion of opera's current existence. He speaks of the need of the people (masses) to reproduce society within the art form of opera when he says, "Society absorbs via the apparatus [opera] whatever it needs in order to reproduce itself" (34). He focuses on the idea of function and its role and importance within society. The discovery of the function of opera, Brecht says, is not desired - only renovation. The avant-garde approach to 'revamping' opera is to utilize new innovations, including the elements of music, text, and setting. Brecht discusses the current desire to 'unmix' these elements and make them more independent of each other, thus keeping audience members interested. Brecht speaks about how, although the attempt is made to avoid changing the social function of opera, eventually, through the avoidance of a blending of elements or illusion, the social function, is, in fact changed, even reaching a didactic theme rather than one of pure entertainment. Brecht compares this loss of enjoyment to a loss of the "culinary element," or pleasurable art.
My opinion of the text was that Brecht was not necessarily condemning the end result of this attempt to renovate the opera, only acknowledging what is lost, gained, and changed entirely, if obliviously.
2 years ago