The Impossible Art

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The Impossible Art

A user's guide to opera--Matthew Aucoin, the most promising operatic talent in a generation (The New York Times Magazine), describes the creation of his groundbreaking new work, Eurydice, and shares his reflections on the past, present, and future of opera

From its beginning, opera has been an impossible art. Its first practitioners, in seventeenth-century Florence, set themselves the unreachable goal of reproducing the glory of ancient Greek drama, which no one can be sure was sung in the first place. Its greatest artists have strived to capture more-than-human ideas and emotions in their compositions. Matthew Aucoin, a rising star of the opera world, posits that it is this impossibility, at the very core of the form, that gives opera its exceptional power. The strength required to sing and play its parts, the spectacle of the production, the creation of a whole new world--in pursuit of impossible goals, opera's greatness comes into being.

The Impossible Art tells the story of Aucoin's new opera, Eurydice, from its inception to its premiere on the Metropolitan Opera's iconic stage. Aucoin has crafted an artist's notebook that traces the creation and development of the production, and he punctuates his entries with reflections on the art of opera--its history, its miracles, and its enduring relevance. The Impossible Art opens the theater door and invites the reader into the extraordinary, synesthetic world of opera.

Publication Date: 
December 7, 2021