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Subject: Re: The Old Metropolitan Opera House
From: Don <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Don <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 26 Oct 2016 11:10:03 -0600
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I loved the old house.  There was something about the sound coming from the
orchestra pit that always thrilled me. The sound seemed to take a while to
get up to the Family Circle because it looked like the orchestra came in on
the upbeat after the downbeat.  I went every Saturday from 1953 until I
graduated from high school and for many years after that.  My first opera
was a student matinée of La Boheme with Lucine Amara as the Mimi and Brian
Sullivan as Rodolfo.  The house itself was always a magic place to me.  I
loved to study scores up in the family circle on those student desks.  I
saw two operas every Saturday standing for $.50 at the afternoon
performance and with my seat up in the Family Circle in the evening, using
the binoculars in the box in front of me feeling like was looking through
the chandelier to see the stage, not really but looking back it might have
been.  I remember standing with a friend to a Parisfal with Varnay and
Kullman, Mitroupoulos conducting and later a Boris Godunov in English with
Jerome Hines.  Everything about that Parsifal was magic to me at the time;
I could not imagine they actually rehearsed it; I figured that the singers
and orchestra just showed up and did their thing.  I will never forget
Hines falling backwards off his throne as Boris.  I wonder still how he did
not hurt himself.  We used to see the afternoon performance and then to go
the street vendor selling knishes for a bite before the evening
performance.  I have never had a knish that tasted that good afterwards.
Memories always seem to make things better than they actually were.  I
cried when they tore the house down but thrilled at opening season in the
new house and for many performances after that, even booed at a couple.  I
wouldn't trade a single night at both houses for anything.  After I moved
to New Mexico to play with the symphony and simultaneously built an Angus
cattle ranch, I listened and recorded many performances out there which I
have subsequently put on my computer.  I still have the mirror in the shape
of the old proscenium with the little piece of the old gold curtain in it.
dond

On Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 10:47 AM, Marc Shepherd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 11:19 AM, Laurence Hoffman <[log in to unmask]
> >
> wrote:
>
>
> > The building exterior was undistinguished and homely; and although well
> > located, was in an undistinguished area. The front entrance lobby was
> just
> > plain
> > ugly, looking liked an old, outdated train station (on a good day). The
> > lobbies on
> > 39th and 40th were just as dingy.
> >
>
> Of course, it is worth noting that the plans to move uptown took years to
> bring to fruition, and during that time they would have spent only the bare
> minimum to maintain the old house.
>
> --
> Marc Shepherd
> New York, NY
>
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-- 
​Always keep a roll of baling wire and another of duct tape in your car.
It's amazing how useful it can be.

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