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Subject: Re: Booing at the Met
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 28 Oct 2017 21:48:53 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain
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I believe that nothing is absolute. The night after Leonard Warren
died, the Met presented Andrea Chenier with Milanov, Bergonzi and
Bastianini. It was a remarkable evening, a remarkable performance
with a series of remarkable ovations, perhaps partly flamed by our
desire to say that "life goes on". Regardless, at the end of "Vicino a
te" 3500 people erupted in a frenzy that is not too often heard. It was
beyond loud.

The audience obliterated those final orchestral moments, and to this day
I think it honored both the performance and the moment perfectly! I was
among those screaming my lungs out; a moment I wouldn't trade for
almost "nothin'".

And there are others. Nothing is absolute!

Bob

On Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 17:21 Henry <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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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