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Subject: Re: Finally a critic who gets what is going on at the MET
From: Donald Kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 15 Nov 2012 13:43:32 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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I'm probably one of those "whiners"  but I must have had
other uses for my two posts that day.

The Met at Lincoln Center was brand new when I went to hear
Corelli as Romeo. The sets looked as cheesy to me
then as the whole house did; they seemed to deserve
each other.  The house has mellowed considerably, but the
recent R&J is so pretentious that it does the work even
less justice than Gerard's did.   I loved the Barrault
CARMEN, the Zeffirelli, less so, and the new one, not at
all.

Critics, past and present, are fun to read, but who would
let their choices be swayed by one?

dtmk

-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion of opera and related issues
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Bob Rideout
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 12:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Finally a critic who gets what is going on at
the MET


On Thu, 15 Nov 2012 04:07:47 -0500, Paul Ricchi
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Paul: thanks for this very tangible perspective. Note that
it has
>provoked nothing but stunned silence among the whiners.

Mainly because it is "Much ado about (absolutely) nothing"!

Bob

>On 14/nov/2012, at 17:34, "G. Paul Padillo"
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Max Winter wrote (in part)
>>
>> "One of Opera-L's favorite passtimes is bitching about
Met management &amp;amp;
>> casting.  (That comes just behind pining for dead/retired
singers.)  Good lord,
>> some people are still complaining about Bing, and he is
long dead and gone."
>>
>> Max is right on the money.  People seem too quickly to
forget the Met has a
>> long history of godawful productions going way back.  I
recall complaints over
>> the currentRomeo et Juliette, but went back to read some
reviews of the prima
>> of the old production:
>>
>> "Rolf Gerard has created flimsy unit sets - gauze arches,
some stand-up set-
>> pieces, etc., in an all-service frame - that highlight
nothing, do not truly "set"
>> any scene, and never strike the faintest note of romantic
richness or grandeur.
>> In front of these sets people parade in tired poses in
remarkably unpicturesque
>> costumes. In short, the pictorial aspects of the
production simply do not create
>> a milieu that is interesting, let alone magical."  (The
Financial Times)
>>
>> "Most of the money of this production has gone into the
costumes . . .
>> elaborate, ...  the stage is crowded with people . . .
scenery, however, is
>> rather skimpy . . .  a unit set, with very few props, and
with a mixture of
>> stylization and naturalism . . .  a real balcony . . .
But the cloister scene there
>> are skeletons of arches all over the stage, supposed to
depict a church. This
>> kind of presentation begins to be tiresome in its basic
lack of imagination."
>> (Schonberg, NY Times).
>>
>> Then there's the new "Carmen" for Bumbry in 1967, for
which the "New Yorker"
>> had this to say:
>>
>> "It has become a habit of the Bing administration ...
import a famous director
>> from the European theatrical world and have this famous
director fall on his
>> face by producing a travesty. Such was the case with
Jean-Louis Barrault at
>> last Friday night'snew productionof "Carmen." I shall
dismiss as unlikely the idea
>> that he was deliberately poking fun at a great
masterpiece, perhaps the
>> greatest in all French music. But his production often
gave that impression. No
>> doubt Mr. Barrault is an expert in his own métier, but it
is obvious that he does
>> not understand opera. Altogether, what was set before
Friday night's audience
>> was the worst staging of Bizet's chef-d'oeuvre that I
have ever seen, and I am
>> not forgetting the productions at the New York Hippodrome
under Alfredo
>> Salmaggi . . . "
>>
>> "...a stepped construction of gray stone in semicircular
shape. The dubious
>> distinction of creating it goes to somebody named Jacques
Dupont. For the first
>> act, it was ridiculous; for the second, awkward. In Act
III, it gave the
>> uncomfortable impression that the dramatis personae were
acting out their
>> roles in a hollow in the middle of a gigantic Swiss
cheese. It is disheartening to
>> contemplate the fact that the Met will probably be stuck
with this conception
>> of "Carmen" for the next decade. It will be a drag, on
any future Carmen's
>> performance. Mr. Dupont's intention, I gather, was to
present the whole opera
>> in a surrounding symbolic of a bull ring - an idea that
was both pretentious and
>> naïve. If any opera calls for realism - real people,
places, and emotions - it is
>> "Carmen." I hope that somebody will visit Bizet's grave
to see whether the
>> ground has been disturbed from below."
>>
>> There are plenty more such deliciously scathing reviews
to be enjoyed and
>> savored!  It seems some believe ALL  the old Met
productions were wonderful
>> creations by Chagall, O'Hearn, Zeffirelli or Beaton.
Many seem to forget the
>> "old bad" recalling nothing but the good ol' days, whilst
simultaneously
>> complaining about the "new bad" and ignoring the "good
new days."
>>
>> p.
>>
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