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Subject: Re: Booing at the Met
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 29 Oct 2017 16:25:27 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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You "think that final chord really should correspond to a final dramatic
moment
in the staging" of MADAMA BUTTERFLY!

That is exactly the kind of thinking that can destroy a composer's perfectly
placed musical inspiration.  What Puccini is saying in the most powerful
and ironic way, is that there is nothing more to say.  Any action on stage
while that excruciating chord is sounded would reduce it to a cheap shot out
of a third class "film noir".

dtmk










On Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 3:41 PM, 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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