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Subject: Re: Booing at the Met
From: Henry <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Henry <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 29 Oct 2017 00:21:10 +0300

text/plain (100 lines)

Thanks for your comments. You raise some interesting points but even so
you don't bring us any closer to solving the problem:

> Inasmuch as we strive to find ways for audiences not to applaud early,

Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Sometimes that can work. But you'd be surprised how many times that would
> actually feel very awkward and artificial, and long. Also, I know a lot of
> directors who don't like blackouts, and who would prefer either a slow
> fadout or having the curtain slowly cover the scene. It's a valid artistic
> choice, like many others.
> Also, some operas have final music that is truly meant to be heard, but
> many (especially 19th century bel canto through much of Verdi, etc) that
> are more just a repetition of a final cadence, etc - it's not "important"
> music, it's just meant to put a definite cap on it. Unless a director can
> really fill that music with compelling stage action, it's better to have
> the curtain coming in as part of that cadential repetition.
> Butterfly famously ends on a "wrong" chord - it's really the only
> classical tonal piece I can think of that doesn't actually end on the
> tonic (though it's implied in the bass, so we tend to hear the resolution
> in our heads, I think). I think that last chord really should correspond
> to a final dramatic moment in the staging - perhaps Pinkerton hugging his
> son, or his discovery of the dead/dying Butterfly, or perhaps a brave
> director would find a way to delay her suicidal stab until that chord. I
> don't know. But it's clear to me that Puccini had something to say with
> that last chord.
> But the cadential "fills" that we hear at the end of, say, Traviata, or
> Rigoletto, or many a bel canto score - that's curtain-lowering music. What
> else is there really to dramatize in that moment? More time watching
> Rigoletto or Alfredo cry over the body? La commedia e finita. Bring in the
> curtain, please.
> (And with that reference to Pagliacci - in my head, I've always felt that
> the fast cascading music at the end, after the reiteration of "ridi,
> Pagliaccio" in the orchestra, could be Canio running off pursued by the
> crowd, leaving the 2 dead bodies for us to see on the final chords. As the
> curtain comes in.)
> Some composers dictate where they want to curtain to come in, or to rise,
> and how slowly or quickly. Berg gives specific instructions for the
> beginning and ending of each scene of Wozzeck, for instance. Though many
> productions nowadays don't always use the curtain between scenes the way
> he originally designed it.
> But - he does ask for the curtain to start descending 4 bars before the
> the end of the opera. ;-)
> On the other hand, with the wonderfully stark ending of Billy Budd - the
> only opera I can think of that ends a cappella - Britten asks for a "slow
> curtain" after Vere has finished singing. No blackout - just the effect of
> the curtain going down on him and his thoughts in silence. So I tend to
> think that he was actually asking for the audience to have that bit of
> silence with Vere before acknowledging the performance.
> What is true, though, is that curtains, lights, and "buttons" on staging
> (a final movement or pose meant to bring the action to a close) to
> influence how the audience reacts. And I've worked with a surprising
> number of directors inexperienced with directing musicals or operas who
> really don't understand how that works. Inasmuch as we strive to find ways
> for audiences not to applaud early, there's also nothing quite as
> uncomfortable as a moment that cries out for applause but doesn't get any,
> because the audience doesn't get that subliminal cue. It's not just about
> the music, it's about how lights and staging can shape the arc of an act,
> or song, or aria.
> But it's definitely not "one size fits all" - many opera endings would
> feel very awkward if we had to wait for the music to end to then get a
> blackout and then a closing curtain. You'd actually risk confusing the
> audience to an extent, especially with those operas that have clear
> "cadential filler" music that invites applause as much as a curtain might.

On Sat, 28 Oct 2017 15:08:12 +0300, Henry <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> >When the
> >singing/music stops, there should be a blackout first, then the curtain
> >moves.

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