OK, the joke's tired but it still makes us laugh somehow.
OPERA FAN: Who's there?
CALIXTO BIEITO: My fist in your a$$!
That's the first thing we thought when we read that, of all the people who could adapt Tirant Lo Blanc, that epic masterpiece, for the stage, the chosen one is the madman that is Calixto Bieito? Opera Chic was all like, wtf? Mutilated Moors? Holy gangbangs? How do you fist somebody who's wearing a body armor anyway? With a can opener?
Because, you know, we think Calixto is a smart boi and all (he studied with the Jesuits after all), and his idea for Saragoza's 2008 Expo, a big iceberg floating around his personal -- not that extravagant, really -- vision of apocalypse that is Iceberg: Sinfonia Poetico Visual, can totally work, esp since some actors will pewp on the penguins or something, or eat them, or both. He's a man with an apocalyptic mind. Epic? Not really, naw.
It's one thing to set Macbeth in a mall from hell, with the secretaries drinking from that famous devilish cup, a Starbucks Grande (for the record: Opera Chic still misses her Starbux, yea, she knows that she lives in coffe country yeah, whatevah), and have poor Caroline Wishnant, that good solid soprano so often mistreated by her unflattering directors, wear some b00berriffic outfits to better stab, straddle and bleed to death her costars, OK. The Scottish play can take the abuse.
And yeah, a nutty Don Giovanni with Leporello in a red + blue azulgrana soccer jersey (for Calisto's beloved Barcelona) & Don Ottavio in a Superman costume, OK, it's a dramma giocoso so we'll pretend it's more giocoso than dramma anyway, and DaPonte was one horny bastard so the naughtier the better, k? maybe. Insane as he may look, and unlike some of his fellow bad boi directors, Calixto has been blessed (by Satan. clearly) with an uncanny sense of dramatic tempi, and a great eye, and a quick mind (nsfw gallery here).
Too bad that Entfuehrung in a whorehouse, with rapes and mutilation and urine-drinking to quench one's thirst for the sublime is just, simply, not the Entfuehrung anymore. (And dude, if you wanna be really controversial, really naughty, keep the Muslim-master caged-Christian-women theme -- don't wimp out of that. Show us it's not a shtick but you're a equal-opportunity provocateur).
Or if you really want to amputate women's nipples, just admit that you're doing your own thing (the Marquis de Sade did, he wasn't really staging Medea in a bordello with und3rage fisting and call it a Euripides play -- he did his own thang under his own name) and scores and libretti and music are just a pain, and you might as well get rid of them and stage your own versions of great operas as Bieito plays. Carmelo Bene did just that in Italy and it was a lot of fun. Nothing wrong with that.
But then, of course, there'd be no scandale. You'd be just another guy staging another loopy play ripping off Hamlet, with a guy in Albert Einstein makeup who goes down on Jenna Jameson as Ophelia, poolside in a San Fernando Valley McMansion as shot by Larry Sultan. (come to think of it, not a bad idea. copyright Opera Chic remember).
Because whenever Calixto manages not to lose his krap he's just spot-on: OC again thinks highly of his Wozzeck in Chernobyl, or his Rake's Progress in a fake dilapidated Disneyland. He could be one of the guys who save classical music from the 180,874 rerun of Zeffirelli's (otherwise lovely, but how many times can one see it?) Bohéme.
But a Tirant Lo Blanc with the White Knight violated by his horse?
Let's hope not (for the sake of the horse, too).