Posted on Fri, 2014-05-30 15:40 by David Pountney
Moses und Aron is partly an opera about the destiny of a people, and partly a debate about the possibility of representing an abstract idea. Moses insists that an abstract idea may not be represented by an image; Aron insists that the people require an image in order to comprehend the abstract idea.
They have responded to the second aspect by adopting the stance which might have been adopted by Moses himself had he been directing the opera: they steadfastly abjure all imagery or representation, and instead do as Moses does, and require us to imagine for ourselves what takes place, for instance, in the scene of the golden calf.
Some people have responded by calling this a “cop out”, but this is an incorrect description. It is a logical, consequent and stringent decision. You may of course disagree with the decision, but it cannot be called a “cop out”. It is even actually rather brave.