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Subject: Re: "Guillaume Tell" Tonight
From: Jeffrey Friedman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jeffrey Friedman <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 19 Oct 2016 09:34:20 -0400

text/plain (61 lines)

On Wed, 19 Oct 2016 08:51:41 -0400, Michael Liebert <[log in to unmask]> 

>"splendid production"
>Uh, no.

I share this reservation.  The singing was marvelous, the chorus and 
orchestra superb, Luisi mostly serviceable.  But the production was another 
stinker, though not bad enough to ruin the evening.

I didn't mind the life-size animals on the tops and bottoms of boulders 
floating mid-air.  After all, this is a memorable part of any trip to 
Switzerland.  The rape scene was relegated to off-stage, with only the 
bloody naked bodies dumped on stage as a sort of after-thought.  There 
was, however, the feel of Grand Opera about it, which is usually sorely 
missed.  They began to lose me in Act 3, when the Austrians dressed in 
black with formal opera hats or whips (they had rifles when glimpsed 
earlier in the background) began to torment the villagers.  Choreography of 
the dances was bad but the execution of it by the dancers was quite 
amazing and good.  But then the crowd opposing the spear-carrying 
soldiers with little Ikea folding tables was weak.  They ditched their tables 
and ran, but thankfully no one was hurt.  In Act 4, the chicken-shit 
production team, probably aware suddenly that Schiller and Rossini had 
given them a story that was beginning to read like a paean to the National 
Crossbow Association, decided to go hyper PC.  Arnold reveals to the rebels 
that he and Melchtal had a stash of arms behind the house, they went in to 
get them.  At this time I was afraid they would emerge with more Ikea 
folding tables, but it was worse.  They came out with...NOTHING.  Yes 
folks, the Swiss liberated their land with their bare hands.

Now the medieval Swiss were indeed a fearsome people.  Machiavelli was 
afraid that they would take over Europe, and put his Princes out of 
business.  The Pope chose them for his (armed) bodyguards, not because 
of their neato uniforms but because they were the scariest folks around.  
But if they had gone up against the Austrians with bare hands and maybe a 
few folding tables I am pretty sure Switzerland would still be a part of 
western Austria (or maybe the Kingdom of Burgundy, which Charles the 
Rash might have managed to establish if the Swiss had not butchered him 
(sshh!!)).  It was after all a major boast (perhaps the only boast) of the 
hapless Austrian army that it was never defeated by an unarmed foe.

At the very end the stage lit up with a golden glow (my wife called this 
a "sickly yellow light," not realizing it was intended as an apotheosis of the 
gold in the vaults of Swiss Bank Corp.)  A fine time was had by all.


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