“The opera Mahoganny pays conscious tribute to the senselessness of the operatic form.  The irrationality of opera lies in the fact that rational elements are employed, solid reality is aimed at, but at the same time it is all washed out by the music.  A dying man is real.  If at the same time he sings we are translated to the sphere of the irrational.  (If the audience sang at the sight of him the case would be different.)” (35-36).

“When an actor sings he undergoes a change of function.  Nothing is more revolting than when the actor pretends not to notice that he has left the level of plain speech and started to sing” (44).

“We all know that Goethe was interested in natural history, Schiller in history: as a kind of hobby, it is charitable to assume.  I have no wish promptly to accuse these two of having needed these sciences for their poetic activity; I am not trying to shelter behind them; but I must say that I do need the sciences.  I have to admit, however, that I look askance at all sorts of people who I know do not operate on the level of scientific understanding: that is to say, who sing as the birds sing, or as people imagine the birds to sing.  I don’t mean by that that I would reject a charming poem about the taste of fried fish or the delights of a boating party just because the writer had not studied gastronomy or navigation.  But in my view the great and complicated things that go on in the world cannot be adequately recognized by people who do not use every possible aid to understanding” (73).

from essays in Brecht on Theater: 1918-1932

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