Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 September 2009
We don't go to the opera for the plot! It is the ambience, atmosphere, and the experience of live theater that are important. The plot is only the cement that holds the story together and sometimes the cement is made of bad quality. We have to muster the courage to get past our preoccupation with the text and put our faith in the images. Opera offers the filmmaker the kind of freedom that cinema cannot afford – Greenaway.(Bruls and Engeler 1999: 12)
We have been able to do without a plot since Meyerhold. His working method with techniques of montage and tableaux vivants formed a starting point for new developments in theater and music, which have persisted up until today. In the early 1960s, to compose an opera was the most stupid thing one could do as a ‘revolutionary’ artist. It was considered a bourgeois art form with boring music and outdated scenarios. Yet transformations in theater have brought about changes in opera since then. I have composed for theater for a long time and hopefully contributed to its transformation – Andriessen.(Bruls and Engeler 1999: 10)
The decade of the 1990s marked a period of fruitful collaboration between Louis Andriessen and the experimental filmmaker and artist Peter Greenaway in Rosa: A Horse Drama (1994) and Writing to Vermeer (1999).