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Subject: Re: Wolcott's Met inauguration
From: Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Genevieve Castle Room <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 4 May 2014 13:02:56 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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text/plain (108 lines)


From the article:

QUOTE: “I lost my Metropolitan Opera virginity two nights ago and the
only thing that I’m embarrassed by is that it took so long. All these
years I’ve been a New Yorker, ever since I was spat like a watermelon
seed from the carrion hellmouth of the Port Authority Bus Terminal
back in 1972, and I had never attended an opera at the Met—me, a man
of culture with his own leather-upholstered chair”

**********

I really hate it when people talk this way, as if appreciation/love
for one branch of the arts should automatically carry over to all of
them (opera in this case for Wolcott).

It's very understandable that someone can love film and theater but
not have a strong feeling for music. Or enjoy literature but not the
visual arts..... and any and every combination in between.

GCR

On Sun, May 4, 2014 at 11:58 AM, janosG <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott/2014/04/my-night-at-the-opera
>
> MAY 4 2014
> My Night at the Opera
> by James Wolcott
>
> I lost my Metropolitan Opera virginity two nights ago and the only thing
> that I’m embarrassed by is that it took so long. All these years I’ve been a
> New Yorker, ever since I was spat like a watermelon seed from the carrion
> hellmouth of the Port Authority Bus Terminal back in 1972, and I had never
> attended an opera at the Met—me, a man of culture with his own
> leather-upholstered chair. The pleasure I’ve denied myself!
>
> Like so many boomers, my familiarity with opera is almost completely a
> warped by-product of pop culture spoof—the sort of funhouse mirror
> sensibility that critic Wilfrid Sheed once summed up in the phrase, “No, but
> I saw the parody.” The Marx brothers in A Night at the Opera (“Either there
> are cops in Il Trovatore or the jig is up!”), Bugs Bunny’s “What’s Opera,
> Doc?,” the mock operettas in I Love Lucy, Bart and Homer Simpson bonding at
> a performance of Carmen (“Toreador, don’t spit on the floor/Use the
> cuspidor/That’s what it’s for”), Tony Randall’s Felix Unger of The Odd
> Couple with his scheme for “Great Moments in Opera” trading cards (“number
> 16: ‘Mimi gets a cough’”)—this is what happens when you start out in life
> having your meals on a TV tray in front of the set, cut off from
> civilization.
> ...
> Finally the tag team of my wife Laura, former editor of Stagebill and an
> opera fan (along with being the country’s best dance critic), and our new
> neighbor Dominique Browning finally convinced me that my hold-out virgin
> status when it came to opera was insupportable, borderline barbaric. Then it
> became a matter of which opera I should go see as my Met initiation. I
> didn’t want to see anything too experimental set to music that sounded like
> plumbing falling from the ceiling or make my maiden voyage with a Wagner
> epic that would carry me into the thunderous mist, never to return.
>
> So after careful deliberation it was decided that the Met’s Madame
> Butterfly, produced by the late Anthony Minghella, was the one I should see.
> ...
> It was tremendous. Hui He’s performance as Cio-Cio San (Butterfly) was
> moving and powerful, her character’s pent-up longing unleashed in the famous
> aria Un bel di (“One Beautiful Day”) emotionally sailing into the upper
> deck. Anthony Minghella’s staging was both streamlined and luxurious, the
> red backdrop with the title character rising in magnificent silhouette was
> cinematic without straining, and much of the action took place within a long
> black frame that was like an enlargement of the 16:9 aspect ratio. It
> conveyed the low horizon of Cio-Cio San’s life—the visor through which she
> views the future—as she scans the harbor for the return of her husband B. F.
> Pinkerton, a lieutenant in the US Navy who abandoned her after their
> wedding; rejected by her family for marrying a Westerner and converting to
> Christianity, she waits on the hillside with their son, born after Pinkerton
> shipped back out to sea of which he has no knowledge, his ignorance being on
> the invincible side, and the faithful maid Suzuki. As their vigil lengthens
> into night, the famous “humming chorus” is heard, like a slowing pulse, the
> diminishment of hope. The geisha robes, the golden fans, the sliding shoji
> screens, the origami birds, the Bunraku-style puppets made by Blind Summit
> Theatre (the role of the son was performed by a puppet, who resembled Henry
> from the old comic strip), the ceremonial silhouetting against the fierce
> dawn backdrop, this production had it all going on. I never once checked my
> iPhone for the time and not just because Laura would have given a judo chop
> to the wrist had I done so. <snip>
>
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