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Subject: Re: The Old Metropolitan Opera House
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:38:42 -0400
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I never saw the Old Met - wish I had - but I have heard plenty about its merits and 
demerits.  A friend of mine on the National Council once told me that although the Old Met 
certainly had its problems, it was the most exciting and theatrical opera house she ever 
saw.  She said that just walking into the auditorium gave you a thrill.

I have always loved what Bing said in his speech at the Farewell Gala, in typically tart Bing 
fashion: "Farewell's are always sad, no matter how much one has been looking forward to 
them."

The reality is that the Met needed the income from the Old Met site.  No way the house 
could have been preserved, just for financial reasons if nothing else. 

I have never agreed with critics of the house at Lincoln Center.  I think it is a spectacular 
building, inside and out.  Which is a rare response for me to 1960s buildings, which period I 
regard generally as the Black Hole of modern architecture.  The only thing I don't like is the 
hideous sculpture over the proscenium - but I'm used to it by now and, perversely, I would 
miss it if it were removed.  I have sat all over the house over the years, and the only place I 
find acoustically compromised is at the back of the orchestra under the overhang, where the 
sound is slightly muffled (I'm assuming that is not a psychological response on my part).  
But even that is not too bad.  Elsewhere, the acoustics are generally excellent, nowhere 
better than standing room at the very top level (although from that distance, visually it is 
like watching a 13" television set across a large room).  I am glad the rising chandeliers are 
back in order - that is an inspired theatrical touch that never fails to thrill - and it would be 
nice to see a new production that actually used the curtain.  Obviously I'm just old-
fashioned.

The Met really needs to redo the bathrooms, though.  Those dated pedal-flush toilets need 
to go.   

MDW

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