The transition of the 77-year-old from critic to director has been received with varying degrees of enthusiasm over the years, particularly during his tenure as influential music writer for the New Yorker.
Critic Martin Bernheimer, for example, wrote a lengthy piece in the Los Angeles Times arguing that it is inappropriate for critics to wear a director's hat. Porter, on the other hand, believes that it is helpful for critics to experience opera from both sides of the footlights.
Richard Bradshaw, general director of the Canadian Opera, will conduct singers from the company's training program in the upcoming Mozart production. Bradshaw and Porter previously collaborated on the American premiere of Handel's Tamerlano at Indiana University in Bloomington and Verdi's La forza del destino at Seattle Opera.
In a hint as to what audiences might expect from his production of the popular Mozart opera, Porter said in an interview with the Star that "some of the commentary on The Magic Flute gets over-solemn. It was intended to please a popular audience as well, so we are staging it very simply."