Man and Myth
Pierre Audi and the Music Theatre
By Roland de Beer
Roland de Beer has closely kept tabs on the international development of the art of opera since 1978, in first instance as critic for the , later as editor of music for , one of the leading Dutch dailies He witnessed Audi’s arrival at the Dutch National Opera in 1988 and has analyzed his work in tens of reviews. De Beer studied musicology and theatre studies at Utrecht University. He has contributed to the literary magazines , and , has published a book on conductors and conducting (Conductors, Meulenhoff 2003, extended version 2006), has contributed to publications on the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mahler, Bruckner, and was the co-author of the book Everyday Art (Veen 2008). In 2012, De Beer was awarded the Pierre Bayle Prize for art criticism.
For the last quarter of a century, opera in the Dutch capital has been blossoming as never before. Those contributing to this success are world renowned conductors, directors and artists. New operas receive international attention. Young singers have brilliant debuts there. Inspired by the spirit of renewal at the canal side address, the great and usually conservative opera houses of New York, Paris, London and Milan have sought collaboration with this ‘boutique opera’ in Amsterdam’s . Remarkable: centre stage in this city’s impoverished opera tradition is the Lebanese born Brit Pierre Audi, whose appointment in 1988 was considered a gamble at best, has since become the longest sitting opera director ever.
In Man and Myth the subject is approached from all possible sides. A timeline relevant to Audi’s life and work is evident without being decisive. The book is first and foremost a journalistic narrative. The form is chosen depending on the nature of the (sub)theme; the choice in sources of information varies accordingly between interview, report or profile and reflection. The dark side is part and parcel to the narrative as the aim was never a hagiography.
De Beer accompanied Pierre Audi to Lebanon, sauntered with him through Oxford Colleges, waded through the bookcases in Audi’s canal side Amsterdam home, and went with him to visit the Almeida Theatre in London which he had founded in 1978, the source of Audi’s double existence as both a stage and an institutional director. Members of the Audi family were interviewed in Beirut and in Paris. More than sixty colleagues, employers and employees, assistants and assailants, both past and present were also interviewed in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Stockholm, Munich, Los Angeles and New York.
Pierre Audi considers 2019 his ‘horizon’ in the Netherlands. As of 2017 he will combine his work at the DNO in Amsterdam with Artistic Director of The Park Avenue Armory in New York.
The Dutch version contains 24 chapters. Seven of them are written from a Dutch perspective. These chapters will be rewritten and reduced in length.
The Dutch version begins with an in-depth account of opera in the Netherlands, its broken traditions and its surprising qualities ever since the 1990s. This section will be shortened. Portions will be interpolated in other sections dealing with ‘Amsterdam’, Dutch Opera and the Holland Festival.
The English version will begin with an account of Pierre Audi’s plans and activities in New York, most of all, the Park Avenue Armory, a remarkable mega platform for creativity across all art forms.
Published 2016 (Dutch) - English material available
ISBN: 9789079624164 – 416 pages - Paperback
World Rights Available