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Subject: Re: The Ponnelle "Dutchman" 1979 and booing
From: Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 26 Oct 2017 23:29:17 -0400
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    Hi, Y'all! 
    I have always suspected, without ever knowing enough to be able to prove it for certain, that Lyric Opera of Chicago's several experiments in regie productions (In addition to the "Dutchman" and the "Tannhauser" mentioned below in Kurt's post, we must include the Alden "Mahagonny" with Jimmy Mahoney's jury of Santa Clauses, the D. Alden "Macbeth" with its drugged out hippies watching home movies, and the C. Alden "Rigoletto" set at a Victorian "gentleman's club" all happened thanks to the influence of Matthew Epstein, who was then credited as "artistic director" and who was a good friend of the Alden brothers.  Thank GOD Lyric got rid of him.  That said, he was clearly a huge and obvious misfit for Lyric's conservative audience, so the parting may well have been mutual.   After that "Rigoletto," the complaints from subscribers and volunteers rose to uproar level.  Lyric wisely scrapped all five of these productions after one run.  
    In all fairness, the "concept" of the Ponnelle "Dutchman" looked very attractive on paper.  I was looking forward to seeing it, because it SEEMED like such a dramatic, cogent idea . . . UNTIL WE ACTUALLY SAW IT, of course.  I have always written this down as a noble experiment and a noble failure.  But the "noble failure" part SHOULD have set off a whole parade of red flags before a lot of incredibly stupid regie productions that followed ever saw the light of day.  
    Best regards, 
    Dennis Ryan 




-----Original Message-----
From: kurt youngmann <[log in to unmask]>
To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thu, Oct 26, 2017 8:36 pm
Subject: Re: The Ponnelle "Dutchman" 1979 and booing

Leave it to Bob to come up with an apt choice of words. “Garbage for innovation’s sake” hits the nail right smack on the head. Bravo!, Bob.

And, since this is already my second post today, I’ll combine it with another comment on the booing thread. Lyric Opera’s 1988 “Tannhäuser” was an early example of the company’s succumbing to this trashy trend and the audience had the good sense to hoot at Peter Sellars and his production team during the curtain calls. It was stupid enough to place the Venus scene in a cheap motel in Las Vegas and the last act at the United Airlines terminal at O’Hare. But turning Tannhäuser into a Protestant and having him depart to Rome for a papal audience put a strain on our credibility big time.

Kurt Youngmann

> On Oct 26, 2017, at 6:09 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I do think it was the first time that
> Met audiences were confronted with garbage for innovation’s sake…


"Skepticism, though unnatural, is a virtue." - Bob Carroll, The Skeptic's Dictionary



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