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Subject: Nabucco in HD This Afternoon
From: Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 7 Jan 2017 19:48:02 -0500

text/plain (91 lines)

Dear Listers:

Not quite three weeks after attending the Dec. 19 performance of “Nabucco” at the Met 
(which I reviewed on this List on Dec. 26), I had the opportunity to see it again live in HD 
at a downtown Washington, D.C., cinema.

The performance was every bit as dazzling at the one on Dec. 19, but in some ways I 
enjoyed this one even more thanks to the absolutely spectacular camera work and sound 
capture by the “Live in HD” technical crew, whose trucks I was privileged to visit a few 
months ago thanks to the kindness of a fellow Lister.

I got the impression than there are many more, and more mobile, cameras than there 
used to be, which allowed cinemagoers to view the action from many different angles, 
and at times it was actually like being onstage with the performance.  The cameras 
captured things it is impossible for most Met audience members to see: Jimmy Levine’s 
absolutely sweet expressions and rapport with his orchestra as he was conducting; close-
ups of various members of the orchestra as they performed their solos or obbligatos; and 
of course the facial expressions of the singers.  The close-ups of Plácido Domingo were 
enthralling, as they highlighted what a great actor as well as singer he is, and all the 
pathos and guts and feeling he poured into his performance.  Simply stunning.

So THREE CHEERS, or even five cheers, to the Met “Live in HD” crew for bringing us all 
these vivid details.  It was obvious to me that whoever was directing the camera work 
knew the score very well, because he/she knew exactly on what and at what time to 

Three BOOS, however, to my neighbors on my right and on my left.  The man on my 
right, probably going on 70 as I am, whose wife was seated somewhere else in the 
crowded cinema, promptly fell into a deep sleep within 5 minutes of the top of the opera, 
waking up only at the intermission, and falling asleep again after the intermission.  “Oh, 
God” I thought, “I just hope he doesn’t snore” (which has happened to seat neighbors of 
mine before), but thankfully he did not.  Still, I can’t conceive of *anyone* sleeping 
through “Nabucco,” which I have always thought could waken the dead.  I wanted to 
suggest that he move to the hockey game which was going on at the same time on the 
other side of the vast Verizon Center & Arena where the Regal 14 Theatres are located.

But it was the neighbor on my left that I will give three or even five BOOS to.  (This was 
the female component of a married couple, also about my age, seated on my left).  
Would you *believe* that literally seconds before the “Va, pensiero,” this . . . bint 
rummaged through her shopping bag on the floor (rustle, rustle, crinkle, crinkle) and so 
help me God pulled out what smelled like (I couldn’t see it in the dark, only smell it) 
either a chocolate “rugelach” or a “pain au chocolat,” and started chomping and munching 
it with gusto.

So this is what “Va, pensiero” sounded like:

“Va, pen- (chomp, chomp) sie-ro (munch, munch), sull’ali do- (munch, munch) ra-a-a-te 
Va, ti po- (chomp, chomp) sa sui cli-vi, (munch) sui col- (munch) li (gulp),
ove olez-(chomp, chomp) zano tepi- (munch, munch) de e mol-li (gulp)
l’aure do-o- (chomp) 0-olci del (munch, munch) suo-olo natal (gulp!)”

followed by more crinkling and rustling as she put her paper napkin back in her shopping 


How can somebody do that ?????  And this after she had chowed down on a large 
sandwich during the ½ hour-long intermission, when she would have plenty time to polish 
off the “rugelach” or “pain au chocolat” before the intermission.  Actually, it probably was 
a “pain au chocolat” because hardly *anybody* in this benighted town knows what a 
“rugelach” is (they’d probably sneer at it if they knew), but they do know “pain au 
chocolat” because it’s French and sophisticated and “au fait” (or so they think) and we are 
soooooo sophisticated and “au courant” here in Washington, aren’t we?

Thank goodness the “Va, pensiero” was encored because by that time she had finished 
her chocolate “rugelach” or “pain au chocolat” or whatever, although I was still seething 
and in a foul mood.  Grrrrrrr !!!

Despite this contretemps, I enjoyed the performance immensely and was glad I decided 
to see it a second time.  I’d go a third time if I could.

Cheers and all the best,


Alain Letort
Washington, D.C.

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