Nothing can be better
Just found this quote from Jonas Kaufmann (in The New York Review of Books from last April:
I’ve seen semistaged or concert performances of operas that were more thrilling than staged ones. Why? Because it’s better to have nothing than to have something so disturbing that it distracts you from enjoying the music and that doesn’t allow the music to create its magic.Wow, do I agree with that. I've seen some weird stagings (plays as well as operas - the worst was a Much Ado About Nothing set in the 1920s on a cruise ship; it was really hard to believe those crazy rich people would notice, much less care if Hero was a virgin) and when the staging distracts you so much ... It can be a perpetual irritation.