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Subject: "Restoring" the Old Met (was Re: Helen Traubel reissue)
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:52:47 -0400
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Arbe Bareis wrote:

"Bing had one huge sin: The New Met. The old one should have been venerated and 
restored."

Sorry, that's just sentimental nonsense.  "Restored" how?  As even a cursory review of the 
layout of the Old Met will reveal, there was no room to expand the stage facilities and bring 
them into the 20th century, including adequate on-site set storage.  There was no way to 
expand the rehearsal areas.  There was no way to improve the dressing rooms (which Bing 
described as "a rabbit warren, with plumbing than most rabbits would not have tolerated").   
There was no way to rectify the atrocious sight-lines of a huge number of seats in the 
auditorium.  There was no way to expand the public areas.  In short, there was no way to 
convert the Old Met into an opera house that could function in the late 20th century and 
beyond. 

Met managers since before Gatti had recognized that the house on Broadway was 
completely inadequate in many basic respects, even in the drop-curtain era, and had been 
agitating for a NEW opera house, NOT a revamped old one.  The drawbacks of the old house 
simply could not be fixed.

Many of the great productions at the new house - e.g., the Merrill-O'Hearn "Die Frau ohne 
Schatten" and "Rosenkavalier," the Zefferelli "Cav/Pag," "Boheme" and "Turandot," the 
Schneider-Siemssen "Tristan," Ring (both of them) and "Tannhauser"  - would have been 
impossible in the old house.  I, for one, would not want to forego those wonderful 
experiences simply because some weepy opera fans had a sentimental attachment to the 
old auditorium.     

And before someone says that the Old Met should not have been torn down, the Met needed 
the revenue from the old site to build the new house. 

As Bing said at the Farewell Gala, "Every farewell hurts, no matter how long one may have 
been looking forward to it."

MDW

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