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Subject: Re: Does the Met have any clue how long performances run?
From: Alan Agle <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Agle <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Dec 2011 06:14:51 +0000
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> The opera isn't a regimented show that runs by the stopwatch, like a Radio
> City revue. It's a living breathing spontaneous performance, so sometimes it
> goes a little longer or shorter than anticipated. Thank heavens.

However: 

Sometimes, the pace (metrical and dramatic) is so slow, that it is distinctly NOT "living nor breathing" --  it is basically a theatrical rendition of a coma.  There's a pulse, but there's no consciousness.

That's not to recognize that on occasion, it is sublime when the conductor goes into quasi-augmentation, and draws a savoring, appreciative length to something exquisite.  Levine does this with mastery.  But, slow tempi run a serious hazard of creating boredom and audience disconnection from the dramatic narrative and emotion.  Even with singers lung-capable of supporting long lines, it's a bit cruel, because it's difficult to sustain any dramatic effect.  

So, I believe in concurrence with many: Not a good Butterfly.  Not ... really ... bad, but certainly not very good.  No big deal; not every performance is stellar.

Marking time until Enchanted Island....

Best wishes to Wendy White. 

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