When speaking of contemporary productions of non-contemporary opera (i.e., those works created prior to the mid-20th century or so), there invariably arises argument that faces off so-called "traditional stagings" against Regietheater stagings of these works; argument that typically becomes quite heated on both sides, a commonplace and characteristic trait of such argument of which commonplace trait, as regular readers of S&F are quite aware, we're by no means innocent. We think that if one were to poll these regular readers they would, almost to a man, declare we favor "traditional stagings" and come down adamantly against all manner of Regietheater and would like nothing better than to see the latter consigned ignominiously and forever to the trash bin of opera history. We take full responsibility for such an apprehension as we haven't always made clear enough (or clear at all) our position on "traditional" versus Regietheater stagings, so, let us here and now and on the record, so to speak, try to set things straight as it concerns our thinking on this matter. First, what is meant by the term "traditional staging" is not always clear to us. Sometimes it seems meant to signify an opera production staged in literal obedience to the original creator's stage directions but employing modern-day stagecraft to make the stage picture convincing to contemporary audiences, and at other times seems meant to signify an opera production staged not only in literal obedience to the original creator's stage directions but a production staged in literal obedience to the way the work was staged originally (as far as that's discoverable), even to the use of naturalistic painted flats and the like if talking about a pre-20th-century work. Except as a one-off novelty, that latter approach is, of course, perfectly ridiculous, the former being always perfectly respectable if rather unimaginative. And then we have Regietheater staging which is a whole other animal and at its two polar extremes can be either illuminatively imaginative, which is to say illuminative of the sense and spirit of the opera creator's original vision and concept as made manifest in the score — music, text, and stage directions — (an exemplar of which in the Wagnerian world would be the Wieland Wagner Bayreuth staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen of the 1950's, and in the opera world in general, Julie Taymor's staging of Mozart's Zauberflöte for the Met), or unabashedly deconstructionist and illuminative only of the Regie's own vision and concept, the sense and spirit of the original creator's vision and concept a thing of only passing concern (an exemplar of which in the Wagnerian world would be Patrice Chéreau's 1976 Bayreuth staging of the Ring, and in the opera world in general, Calixto Bieito's staging of Mozart's Entführung for the Komische Oper in Berlin), this latter approach more vulgarly (but justifiably) known as Eurotrash. Between those two polar extremes are those now myriad Regietheater opera stagings that tend more toward the one extreme or the other with varying degrees of success in terms of realizing the sense and spirit of the original creator's vision and concept as made manifest in the score. For the record, we wish to declare here and now that while we find traditional stagings of opera in the above first sense of the term to be innocuous enough as they do not obtrude themselves in any way on that which is of first importance in opera (viz., the drama as made manifest in the music and text), and while we recognize the importance and irreplaceable value of such stagings in introducing newcomers to a work, we much prefer Regietheater opera stagings of the above first sort. It seems to us that absent such stagings our great 400-year legacy of opera will more or less quickly degenerate into a collection of museum pieces, and by virtue of that alone, drift ineluctably toward and ultimately beyond the margins and beyond the concerns of contemporary culture. Not a good thing; not a good thing at all.