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Subject: Re: "Restoring" the Old Met (was Re: Helen Traubel reissue)
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:16:13 -0700
Content-Type:text/plain
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I probably saw about ten performances at the old Met the last two seasons
it was open.  As a kid, of course I was impressed but even then it
basically had a magnificent, truly beautiful (Carrere & Hastings, rebuilt
1903) auditorium.  The rest was truly a dump.  I remember my mother taking
me backstage a few times and it was for lack of a better word, dumpy.  The
hallways were dumpy, the box anterooms were dumpy but all that changed once
you got into the gorgeous auditorium  Sight lines were a problem especially
with the support poles.  Many partial view seats and lets face it, its a
problem with every horseshoe designed auditorium.  The new met is no
different.  OK, no support, nobody sitting behind one but for almost all of
the seats in those side balconies are side views and partials.  Lyric Opera
of Chicago is a long shoe box with the balconies all at the rear so sight
lines are excellent.

Now, someone mentioned the plaque that disappeared.  Yes, it was on the
exterior of the office tower that replaced the Old Met.  Yes, it is gone.
It has been replaced by a plaque (bas relief) honoring Golda Meir.  I have
no idea what she had to do with the site or its history other than the
building probably houses lots of garmentos.  Meir herself aside from being
Israel's Prime Minister and before that Foreign Minister and I think an
early Ambassador to the UN, had very little if anything to do with New York
itself and the site of the Old Met in particular.

Does anyone know if the Met even owns that land anymore?  They mortgaged
the Chagalls and sold Bori's Jewelry, I wouldn't be surprised if they sold
off that land long ago.  That might even explain why Golda is there and
mention of the Old House is not.  In our politically correct brave new
world, I will bet that Golda's 15 minutes there might be ending soon also.

Donald

On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 2:51 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Again, full agreement.
>
> I attended the Opening Night of the New Met and the beauty
> of it took my breath away. The chandeliers, speaking of gasps
> from audiences, when they retreated into the ceiling, was a
> jaw dropping moment. They wete a gift from the Austrian
> governmenr, and they were simply awesome. Still are!
>
> The Chagalls were equally impressive, even if the effect was
> less spectacular.
>
> It isvery large, but for its first forty years, more or less,
> there was an audience more than willing to fill "most" of
> those seats. Maestro Toscanini, all the stars were not in
> heaven then, though most probably are now.
>
> As Renata Scotto said to a friend a number of years ago,
> when asked about the changes in many aspects of the
> operatic experience - " altri tempi". And that's about it!
>
> Altri tempi! I doubt we shall ever see them again.
>
> Bob
>
> On Mon, 21 Aug 2017 16:27:25 -0400, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> >I think the Met at Lincoln Center is a beautiful building, inside and
> out.  The front of the
> >building from the plaza, with the big Chagall murals and the starburst
> chandeliers backed
> by
> >the red and gold of the lobby, is one of the most breathtaking sights in
> New York.  I find
> the
> >auditorium beautiful as well, apart from the abstract monster above the
> stage.
> >
> >And yes, the house is big.  But the size was dictated by the economic
> needs and
> projections
> >at the time the house was built.  It is what it is.  That the Met has
> trouble filling the house
> >today is not the fault of the big house.  When I was attending the Met
> regularly in 1974 -
> >1978, it was frequently sold out, or nearly so.  But that was a result of
> great casts that
> had
> >star power and could sell tickets.
> >
> >MDW
> >
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