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Subject: Re: Met Titles | Are they worth writing to Peter Gelb about ?
From: "ls111553 ." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:ls111553 .
Date:Mon, 21 Nov 2016 22:41:30 +0000
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I am surprised to learn that the language in which the opera is sung is
left "untitled". Yes, writing to the Met's management can't hurt. I am
fluent in French, but it is just as you explain, intelligibility is very
uneven at the Met... and elsewhere. As for Spanish not being heard during
intermissions, are you sure you were at the Met? Or better, are you sure
you were in the U.S.?
For decades, I've had terrific fun eavesdropping on intermission
conversations in French and Spanish at the Met (looks like everyone thinks
no one understands what they are saying!). My "accent radar" is rather
sensitive, which is a plus in this situation. In general, French, Canadian,
Chilean, Colombian, Mexican, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican and my fellow Cuban
audiences are repeatedly polite and appreciative of the performance, but
when my "antennas" pick up Spaniard and most of all: Argentinian
discussions, I "tune in" immediately. The criticism is as passionate -and
delightfully ruthless- as what you may hear from any red-blooded Italian
"loggionista"!

On Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 1:55 PM Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dear Listers,
>
> Something has been bugging me for a while, and I’d like to sound you out
> as to whether
> you think it would be worth my while writing to Peter Gelb about it.
>
> Recently I attended a performance of “Guillaume Tell” at the Met, and was
> very much
> annoyed that there were no titles in French.  Only English, German, and
> Spanish, a
> language that has never been associated with opera and which one seldom
> hears spoken
> at the Met during intermissions.  French and Italian titles seem to be
> available only when
> the opera being performed is in one of those two languages, but German and
> Spanish are
> always available.  Even though my native language is French and I am still
> to this day
> perfectly bilingual, I had never heard “Guillaume Tell” before, and while
> a few of the
> singers had excellent French and were understandable, the French of some
> of the others
> was not so excellent and I couldn’t understand them.  I would have
> appreciated having
> titles in French.
>
> When I saw “Manon” at the Met a couple of years ago, and “Les Pêcheurs de
> Perles”
> earlier this year, French-language titles were available.  (Not that I
> needed them,
> knowing both of those operas by heart.)  So why were they not available
> for “Guillaume
> Tell,” a work far less familiar to the vast majority of operagoers than
> the other two ?
>
> At the first intermission I complained to the House Manager, a charming
> man who
> seemed genuinely startled and puzzled to hear that there were no titles in
> French.  He
> had assumed all along that French titles were available, as they were for
> Manon and PdP,
> so the information I conveyed was news to him.  He suggested that I write
> to Peter Gelb
> and complain, and wrote Gelb’s mailing address on the back of his business
> card, which I
> still have.  I said that if I did so my letter would probably be thrown
> into the proverbial
> File 13 by some minion in Gelb’s office, and he replied that I shouldn’t
> think that at all,
> that Gelb reads all letters to subscribers.  In addition, he said, as part
> of his job as House
> Manager, he personally hands to Gelb a written performance report or log
> after each
> performance, and he would be sure to mention my complaint in his
> performance report.
>
> So what do you all think ?  Should I write to Gelb or spare myself the
> waste of time and
> effort ?
>
> Just for the record, Lynne Price and I adored the opera, exquisite music
> and singing, the
> orchestra and chorus were in superb form, but we HATED the production for
> its sheer “in-
> your-face” ugliness and absurdity.  As for that leather S&M “ballet,” I
> thought there were
> special clubs for people who are into that sort of thing.
>
> Thanks and all the best,
>
> Alain
>
> Alain Letort
> Washington, D.C.
> The Belly of the Beast
>
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