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Subject: Re: Booing at the Met
From: daaaac <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:daaaac <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 28 Oct 2017 19:38:10 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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Here is my transfer from an original reel of the final duet from that performance, March 5, 1960.  It was recorded from the prompt box but the tape ends soon after the postlude.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQkffMU-0Uk&feature=youtu.be

Donald

On Oct 28, 2017, at 5:48 PM, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 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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