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Subject:

Re: Question on performance protocol

From:

David Geary <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Geary <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 19 Dec 2011 12:24:00 +0100

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> Are individual performers at the Met
> actually
> authorized to do any of these things? I thought that the ONLY person
> who
> could stop a Met performance in mid-flight was the stage manager in
> chief,
> who is actually calling the show and who is theoretically in total
> command
> of the performance. Have I misunderstood the protocol?

Certainly in normal circumstances it is the stage manager who stops the
performance. But protocol can only go so far. Imagine if it was only one
of the passengers on the Titanic that had noticed that the ship had hit
an iceberg, but didn't tell the captain because protocol dictated that
the first officer has to tell him when something goes wrong.
There are times when the people on stage are closer to what is
happening. Since Mefisto would be coming onstage together with Marthe,
Rene Pape would be the first to know what happened. It is possible that
the stage manager didn't even see that anything was wrong, depending on
where he is backstage. I had an experience myself which ties in with
this thread. Back in 1963 I was in the chorus for Aida with the COC in
Toronto. I was one of the priests, and there was a row of us standing on
a platform 12 feet above the floor. On the left hand there were wide
steps with the mezzos standing, on the right a drop straight to the
floor, except there was a row of extras, each holding a wooden sword
with the point pointing up. I fainted for the first and last time in my
life, fell to right, landed on the first extra and slid to the floor. I
wasn't hurt, except that the tip of the sword caught me on the chin, and
I needed 11 stitches. No problem, except if it had caught me an inch
lower it would have gone right into my throat, and that would have been
the end of me. It was Richard Cassilly, who was Radames, who yelled
"Close the curtain". Or so they tell me, I was unconscious. The weirdest
thing was regaining consciousness and finding all Egypt looking down at
me! Took a minute to realize where I was!

David

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