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Subject: Re: The Met's New Barbiere
From: Gualtier Malde <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:=?windows-1252?Q?Gualtier_Malde?= <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 15 Nov 2006 15:13:13 -0500
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I remember many happy evenings at the Met with the circa 1983 John Cox 
production.  I believe some of the complaints about the production when 
new may have centered around some of the casting - Marilyn Horne who was 
about fifty at the time was the matronly Rosina.  The critics said that 
she and Gabriel Bacquier, the Bartolo, looked like a squabbling older 
married couple and not a doddering old fool and his mischievous teenage 
ward.

Anyway, the last production was showing its age in some potentially life-
threatening ways.  At one performance some years ago, Ruth Ann Swenson was 
nearly crushed by a wall of the revolving set which collapsed as she was 
about to sing "Una Voce Poco Fa".  I believe she simply stepped to the 
front of the stage and sang the aria while stagehands behind her busily 
tried to repair the set...

Over the years the Met has kept having to repair the Zeffirelli "Boheme" 
sets which still remain popular with audiences if not with critics and 
connoisseurs.  The first Zeffirelli "La Traviata" was actually a 
production that originated in Paris with Catherine Malfitano which 
utilized the sets from the Zeffirelli movie with Stratas.  Many of the 
materials were not built for long term wear and stage traffic and 
storage.  It evidently was in serious disrepair and that is why it had to 
be replaced only after about a decade of use with what ended up being a 
second (and I think with some changes a lovely) Zeffirelli production.

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