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Subject: Re: Met Broadcasts We Wish We Had
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:33:25 -0400

text/plain (135 lines)

It's not hard to put on one's wish list the titles that ought to have been
broadcast instead of those that were.

And, who can write like Lawrence Gilman any more?

As for hearing a lightweight piece after the ELEKTRA he described, I
would have had no problem with that; my first SALOME, introducing
the sensational Ljuba Welitsch, was followed by my first hearing of a
delightful GIANNI SCHICCHI.  There was an intermission after all, and
those unable to recover from the emotional charge of the first work, were
free to go home..


On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 9:29 AM, G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]>

> I know the Met had to pick and choose which operas it broadcast during
> the earlier years of it  “broadcast season,” but sometimes the choices left
> me perplexed, particularly in those seasons long before my time.
> The 1938/39 season sounded like a dream to me, how some operas were
> left off the list is beyond my comprehension.  Broadcasts that season –
> including TWO of Tristan included, Mignon, Lucia, Hansel, Pagliacci,
> Rosenkavalier, Don Giovani, Simon Boccanegra, Louise, Aida, Boheme,
> Manon, Rigoletto, Trovatore and Barbiere.  What did not receive broadcasts
> was a list nearly as long, including Thais, Boris Godunov, Parsifal, all
> four
> Ring operas, Meistersinger, Salome, and most egregious – in my opinion,
> Elektra, with Rose Pauly in one of her few Met appearances, not
> inconsequentially, all of them as Elektra.  (NOTE:  As was the custom,
> shorter works like Salome, Elektra, etc., frequently got “tagged on”
> performances of other shorter works; in this season’s case, Elektra was
> partnered with Menotti’s charming “Amelia Goes to the Ball.”)
> It's an even particularly more noteworthy gaff when one reads the
> reviews.  Here is Lawrence Gilman’s for the Herald Tribune (he also
> praised, highly, Menotti’s opera).
> “Richard Strauss's prodigious "Elektra," which was heard at the
> Metropolitan last night for the first time this season, retains its
> stature as a
> masterpiece - as one of the outstanding lyric-dramas composed since
> Wagner's death.
> Probably the work will continue to seem anomalous to the tender-minded.
> And it is true that Hofmannsthal and Strauss have given us here something
> startlingly different from the conventionally imagined replicas of antique
> Greek tragedy. Elektra, the very type and image of incarnate hate - a
> ragged, glaring, disheveled … shrieking her exhortations, snarling in the
> shadows, dwelling among the dogs in the courtyard like a hunted and
> degraded demon; Klytemestra, a loathsome apparition with her ghastly
> pallor and her somnambulistic tread, the symbol of an unimaginable
> depravity - the dark door, as Elektra cries out of which she, her daughter
> crawled into the world's light; these conceptions seem remote indeed from
> what we choose to think of as their classic prototypes.
> Yet the heart and essence of the ancient tale are embodied in the music-
> drama of Hofmannsthal and Strauss. The dramatist and the musician have
> not forgotten that the flame which purifies the tragedy is Elektra's
> unquenchable and agonizing grief and her consuming passion for
> retribution; that this agony and grief have made her the living instrument
> of a holy cause; and that her degradation and her rags are worn as the
> spotless raiment of princess who is still the daughter of a king.
> We have heard in New York a number of different Elektras since the work
> was first performed here at Mr. Hammerstein's Manhattan Opera House
> almost thirty years ago; but none of them save the latest, the
> Metropolitan's Rose Pauly, has succeeded in lifting the character of the
> heroine in the imaginative and spiritual level upon which its authors
> intended it to move. Mme. Pauly does this, and does it with transfiguring
> intensity and truth, so that the grandeur and nobility of Elektra's spirit
> fill
> the drama and its music with the exaltation of its sublimating tenderness
> and grief.
> Mme. Pauly was never more compelling in her exertion of this transmuting
> power than she was last night; and her acting and singing at the great
> moment of the Recognition Scene was a prime example of the ability of a
> supreme interpreter to give a new significance and beauty in
> thrice-familiar
> works of art. Various Elektras had sung the rising two-note phrase (B
> flat-E
> flat) in which Elektra voices her incredulous repetitions of Orestes' name'
> but none other had ever charged it with so revealing a poignancy of
> achievement. Mme. Pauly heightened the beauty and significance of a
> great role and of the masterpiece whose meaning it conveys.
> Mme. Pauly's principal companions in the cast had taken part in last
> season's performances of "Elektra." Chief among them was Kerstin
> Thorborg's embodiment of the pathological and monstrous Klytemnestra,
> bloated and heavy-lidded, corrupt and horrible, in her scarlet dress
> bedecked with precious stones and amulets, complaining of her broken
> sleep and her tormented dreams, shaking with terror and superstitious
> dread. The Orestes of Mr. Schorr was an eloquent contribution to the effect
> of the overmastering scene with Eklektra, perhaps the noblest and most
> moving in Strauss's works.
> Mr. Bodanzky's direction of the exacting score could scarcely be over-
> praised, and the orchestra played better than at any recent performances
> that I have heard. In those pages wherein the music compasses a lofty
> pathos and a releasing grief, the fervor and devotion of the conductor and
> his men were irresistible.”
> Talk about a missed opportunity!
> p.
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