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Subject: What are the good opera houses? was: LaLa land!!!
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 4 Aug 2016 01:44:49 -0400

text/plain (56 lines)

I read so many variants on what the New  York City Opera wanted to do:

One thing for sure, the Met Opera has got to do something - they can't stay
in that big place with audiences of less than 2000 for very long.

Someone (not Mr. Kessler) wrote to me that they didn't like the Chandler in
LA. Fair enough. So let's look at the state of opera houses in the US? What
are the good ones?

In my personal experience there are only two that are distinguished that
I've been to (and no they aren't in Princeton!!!!). Glimmerglass and the
Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. 

The Philadelphia Academy of Music was once the closest to ideal, but they
killed the sound when they reinforced the stage. The hall in the Kimmel
Center doesn't contain the sound well over the stage. 

Now I have a big Midwest and Western hole in my experiences - I haven't been
to the SF War Memorial or either of the Chicago Opera Houses. I've heard
good things about all three.

But in New York? There is nothing, not one first rate opera house. The Met
is a disaster - dead zones in the orchestra, the best sound up at the top is
so far from the stage, there should be video monitors. The scale doesn't
work for most all of Mozart or the Bel Canto works, it barely works for big
Verdi or an opera like Butterfly and not at all for operas like La Traviata
or La Boheme (I loathe the Zeffirelli production, especially the Garrett
setting). And now that it will hardly ever sell out, the big size has no
purpose and can only serve to be demoralizing as well as very expensive to
keep going.  The theater at Juilliard is ok, not that special and it's not
useful in any case since it is restricted for professional use. The Brooklyn
Opera House is pretty good and has some history, but it is not a first rate
venue worthy of a city like New York. The Rose? I don't think so. There is
some irony in that the old Manhattan Opera House may be the best of all
(Hammerstein won in the end!) but it isn't going to do the trick.

There are plenty of places I haven't been to. What am I missing?

Where do listers prefer to see opera in the US?

James Camner

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