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Subject: Re: Booing at the Met
From: Raul Godoy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Raul Godoy <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 28 Oct 2017 18:58:09 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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text/plain (144 lines)


Or “SHHH!”

Raúl Godoy - sent from my mobile / please excuse any errors

> On Oct 28, 2017, at 18:52, Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I think part of "the problem" is that there is no one "problem." Every opera and every 
> production is different, and it has to be approached on its own terms. It's not like anyone 
> can wave a magic wand and poof, the audience behaves just as you want them to. ;-)
> 
> That's not ever going to happen. ;-)
> 
> Plus, some people are just going to do what they always do. You could put "please don't 
> applaud yet" up on the supertitles and some people will still applaud anyway. 
> 
> 
> 
>> On Sun, 29 Oct 2017 00:21:10 +0300, 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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