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Subject: Re: Best/worst stagings
From: John Greiner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:John Greiner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:43:43 -0600
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Whip-wielding transvestite dominatrix Barney the Dinosaur is hurtling through space in a rocket ship, prisoner of giant mutant lobster Gumby’s ....I did not stay beyond the first act.  (Hints - 1) it’s Mozart and 2) it’s not a comedy or semi-comedy like Abduction or Magic Flute.)

Actually, I did see something very similar to the updated Sellar’s Don Giovanni (done by the late John Lehmeyer for the now defunct Summer Opera Company in DC) and it worked very well.  There is nothing really time specific in that opera, and having Don Giovanni snorting cocaine and guzzling champagne in a swinging 60s Las Vegas setting worked for the character and the opera very well.  On the other hand, an updated Marriage of Figaro didn’t work at all since the Master’s right to sleep with his servant was going out in Mozart’s time, let alone in 1930s Hollywood when it was set.  

That’s the trouble with so many of the concept operas.  The concept completely falls apart if it doesn’t work or is contrary to the story.  The Met’s productions of Traviata, Rigoletto, and many others are failures because the stories make no sense in the new settings.  I don’t go to concept productions if I know about them in advance, that one successful Don G didn’t and doesn’t make up for the enormous waste of time and money all the others represent.  If I got/get hoodwinked and find out after the fact, if they can’t make the case by the end of the first act, I leave.

 The same with plays by the way.  I’ve walked out of two recently by The Shakespeare Theater, a Twelfth Night set in an airport terminal (apparently the director found that setting funny, as was getting the cast lost in the gigantic space - the actors rode scooters to get around - ) and a Romeo and Juliet set in modern time that basically took place in a Chinese restaurant (the fight scenes getting laughter from the audience as they talked about swords while continually missed each other with guns).  Really the only interesting thing about the former was finding out the theater had a fully removable proscenium, as for the latter...it’s a bit off the Opera topic, but defenders of directors crap often sight Shakespeare updates, when they routinely fail too.  And I’m not the only walkout.  

Life is simply too short to waste on directors with ideas.  They occasionally succeed in ripping off my money, I cut time losses to a minimum.

Best,  

John Greiner

PS the “Barney” opera was Zaide at Wolf Trap.

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 22, 2017, at 3:08 PM, Ariane Csonka <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Thank you all, what a hilarious gift!  I shall look desperately for these examples on youtube, and quote your recommendations.  The world of opera is indeed wondrous - for good AND terrible!  I had heard about the Masked Ball toilets, but not the two-headed Gurnemanz...and the Gorillas.  I am so glad I asked!  The List is terrific.
> Wasn't there a Sellars Don Giovanni that actually worked?  Has anyone seen the Coney Island Cosí?
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