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Subject: Re: Hampson destroying .... Luisotti the biggest scourge of all
From: Kiwi <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Kiwi <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 12 Mar 2017 09:20:47 -0400

text/plain (86 lines)

Peter Gelb continues to have his supporters who insist he is doing a fine 
job with the Met and criticism is unfair.  Fine as in driving it into 
extinction?  OK, a bit overkill but how much longer can the institute stand 
as a shining beacon of artistic greatness?  We already have internationally 
renown singers who simply don't care to come to the Met;  I can only wonder 
if that would be the case if the quality of the staging, conducting and 
management were at the same level as with past general managers.

Stagings?  with a few notable exceptions they have been at best forgettable, 
at worse disgraceful, even uninspiring and disjointed from the libretto.

Conducting?  Haphazard.

Singers?  Many are second class, some third.  Gelb gloms onto a name and 
runs with it until ... well, in some cases we are still waiting for the 
'until' to happen, as he continues to employee highly questionable talent 
for the Met stage.  Does he hire simply for looks for his HD productions 
without regard for capability in the assigned role.

It doesn't help that Gelb relies on 'names' to sell the silliest of 
concepts.  'Names' still bring in audiences, especially those people who 
carry a personal attachment to a singer and can't let go, even when the 
singer is no longer in peak condition (or in the right fach).

Artistic considerations pale in comparison to tricks designed to put people 
in the seats, even if that means staging one of the most beloved operas with 
people who shouldn't be singing their assigned roles and a conductor who 
can't control the orchestra or doesn't understand the nuances of the score.

Certainly during rehearsal problems with Hampson--and to a lesser degree 
Fabiano and Yoncheva should have been noted and corrections made.  If the 
orchestra was playing too loudly and forcing the singers above their 
abilities, someone should have spoken to the conductor.  If the singers are 
out of sorts and are having a moment in their singing careers, take them 
aside and let them know you understand but....bring in someone else.  That 
doesn't mean banish them from the Met forever;  it means for this production 
the art matters more than the individual.  That's what an artistic director 
is paid to do, isn't it?

But this is the Gelb world, one which he doesn't seem to understand or 
appreciate and after all this time he still doesn't seem to get it at all. 
This Traviata made the mighty Met look both cheap and provincial while the 
soundscape did nothing to change that conclusion.

The enabling board apparently is so besotted with Gelb that he can do no 
wrong as far as they are concerned but the question Met fans should be 
asking is when is it enough?  .

-----Original Message----- 
From: David H Spence
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2017 10:50 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Hampson destroying .... Luisotti the biggest scourge of all

The Met, under Peter Gelb, it is very well known long by now - note the
infomercials to which cinema audiences get frequently subjected to at the
cinemas - is very sensitive about its own publicity, that is, more than
control.  When however the sound one is getting out the forces over which he
is impresario is hardly any better or sufficiently distinctive from what one
can get in a Pittsburgh, Portland, St Louis, or Houston, where is the
motivation then to make purchase of any tickets at all?

This is not always true of what comes from the Met, but on such a standard
like La Traviata, it should, especially for a much publicized movie-cast,
never be true.  The banda music sounded over the air and I'm sure in the
cinema as well at an equal aural perspective as the orchestral music from
the pit.  The rhythms were stiff, the sound raw, the rushed feeling making
transitions from the end of one passage into the beginning of the next
passage contrived at best, and including some of the sounds the chorus
started making, entirely forced as well.  Rhythmic fluidity between
contrasting passages of Act One was entirely lacking.

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