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Subject: Re: Does the Met have any clue how long performances run?
From: Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Dec 2011 13:43:12 -0500
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I learned today, after some research, that a May 8,1972 performance of Otello lasted :16:12.5 seconds longer than the program advised. For years after, detractors of Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, on the podium that night, used that as a major element in their critical brief against him. I learned all of this in preparing my thesis for a MA in bull-s**t (The use of gross elapsed time in the critical analysis of theatrical performances).

But just recently it came to light that an intermission was extended  because Robert Shmoor (that evening's Roderigo) was trapped in his dressing room by a jammed door. (The humidity at the Atlantic Civic Center was excessive that night.)

The reference to Domingo's "sabotaging" yesterday's performance was pithy but not original, unless the posters were Ann Midget posting under an assumed name. She used that description in a Washington Post review. So it seems like the posters were dispensing "informed wisdom".

Act Two of all this will be the posting here of the violent criticisms of PD's conducting by Met singers and orchestra members, who must remain nameless of course because Domingo is the Holy Emperor of Music and a word from him will result in blacklisting. Someone will also say that his lack of squillo makes him a poor conductor

Give me a break, please. He is not a great conductor, nor is he awful. This is about music politics and resentment that he will be earning a music-living for many years.

But this list can be much worse:

Remember many on this list were jackals laughing when the lion, Bergonzi, stumbled as Otello in NYC several years ago. And many were figuratively standing around Levine's sick bed with enthusiastic words of discouragement. 

Sent from my iPad

On Dec 18, 2011, at 1:14, Alan Agle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>> 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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