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Subject: Zeffirelli (was Re: Worst staging nominations)
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Fri, 22 Dec 2017 15:33:43 -0500

text/plain (36 lines)

Roger Brunyate wrote:

"But what were once fresh and interesting productions, benefiting from his incredible sense 
of period and eye for detail, have become fossilized museum pieces."

My objection to Later Zeffirelli was not that his productions were "museum pieces" - nothing 
wrong with that, if the production is a good one, and in these times a museum piece new 
production might be a real novelty.  Productions like his "Falstaff," "Cav/Pag" or "Otello" 
would be particularly welcome today, and his "Boheme" and "Turandot" are still magnificent.  
Although as the NYT critic wrote when the latter premiered, it had "all the emotional impact 
of a night at the Ice Capades."  But then, I think "Turandot" is a rather empty work anyway, 
although very effective when performed well, so I think Zeff's over-the-top glitz works for 
the opera.

The problem with Zeffirelli's later productions at the Met was that they were ponderous and 
empty excess without any real drama.  The later "Carmen," Traviata," and "Don Giovanni," 
were all examples of this.  And the "Tosca" really started the problem, with that pointless, 
showy elevator scene change in Act III.

But - it must be acknowledged that even when bloated with excess, Zeffirelli's productions 
usually guaranteed a full house, which was very important for the company's bottom line.  


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