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Subject: Re: "Guillaume Tell" Tonight
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:57:16 -0400
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Valuable revelations about the historical Swiss: I never knew much more
than what that Orson Welles character related in a memorable summing up of
Swiss culture from the THE THIRD MAN.  In the distant days when operatic
music was, for me, mostly confined to orchestral passages unless the
composer happened to be Wagner, I thought the Overture and ballet music
from TELL promised far more than the sprawling work eventually delivered.
Raised
though I was on Anderson and the brothers Grimm, the apple on the head
business never seemed to strike an empathetic chord, and Rossini's endless
bel canto folderol has failed to rescue the work from its tedious plot, so
I think
I'll skip this outing.

dtmk

On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 9:34 AM, Jeffrey Friedman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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