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Subject: Re: the real final night at the old Met 1966
From: Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:13:08 -0400
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Dear Listers,

I don’t know why this controversy even started in the first place, as there are *numerous* 
photos of the Old Met available on the Web.

This large color photograph clearly shows the pillars (or columns, posts, supports, uprights, 
balusters, piers, piles, pilasters) that “graced” the Old Met and interfered with a substantial 
number of viewers’ sightlines : 

http://www.gstatic.com/hostedimg/dc07297029641e44_large

From what the photograph shows, the problem mainly affected the side and rear orchestra 
seats and the third and fourth balconies (I don’t know what they were called).  Also, people 
seated in the side boxes (other than those seated in the first row of same) would have had 
a very obstructed view of the stage, a problem common to most traditional horse-shoe 
shaped houses, such as the Palais Garnier in Paris.

It’s a shame that many of the decorative features of the Old Met, such as frescoes, 
paintings, gilded woodwork, etc, were not dismantled, preserved, and re-used in other 
theaters.

A very interesting website details the history of the Old Met and the efforts of the 
Metropolitan Opera Association to thwart (successfully, as we know) any initiative aimed at 
preserving the old house, for fear of competition.  The website is well documented and has 
many footnotes supporting all of its assertions.

http://www.nypap.org/preservation-history/old-metropolitan-opera-house/

Cheers and all the best,

Alain

Alain Letort
Washington, D.C.
Des Ungeheuers Höhle





====================================================
On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 13:50:57 -0400, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Donald
>
>I do think that this has become a tempest in even less than a
>teapot, but, there certainly were pillars (or posts if you want)
>at least at the Dress Circle and Balcony levels. I was cautioned
>about them more than once at the box office.  i sat behind them
>a couple of times and they were no great impediment. The thing
>is, they had a very small circumference, but they were there!
>
>Bob
>
>On Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 13:34 donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I have never mentioned backstage facilities, but I will say that
>> whatever their shortcomings, they didn't interfere with more than
>> half a century's worth of magnificent performances.  Nor did
>> complaints begin to proliferate until it was decided that they
>> might be a good way to help in instigating a move.
>>
>> No matter where I sat in the old place, I was never behind a post;
>> it just doesn't work that way, and I have numerous clear 8x10 photos
>> to prove it.  The trouble with seats on the side of any theater, new or
>> old, is that views of the stage are obstructed, partially or seriously,
>> depending on how high up you go.    That is why, after the remedy
>> Richard Wagner demonstrated at Bayreith, no horseshoe theater
>> should ever have been built again.
>>
>> dtmk
>>
>> On Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 12:56 PM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > Donald Kane wrote:
>> >
>> > "I defy you to produce a single photo showing "pillars" on every level.
>> Do
>> > you even know
>> > what a pillar is?"
>> >
>> > Yes, in fact, I do, have for some time.  From one dictionary: "A tall
>> > vertical structure of
>> > stone, wood, or metal, used as a support for a building, or as an
>> ornament
>> > or monument.
>> > Synonyms: column, post, support, upright, baluster, pier, pile, pilaster,
>> > stanchion, prop,
>> > newel."  I presume you are quibbling about my calling them "pillars"
>> > rather than "posts" or
>> > "columns."  Now, if I had called them "caryatids," you might be able to
>> > object, as none of
>> > the supports had ladies draped in togas.  But "pillar" is a perfectly
>> > acceptable descriptive
>> > word for the uprights that supported the balconies of the Old Met.
>> >
>> > As to your first point: the pillars/columns/posts/caryatids - call them
>> > what you want, it's all
>> > the same thing (well, ok, not Caryatids, no women in togas) - can be seen
>> > in numerous
>> > photos of the Old Met on Google Images.  There is also a clear view of
>> the
>> > house with the
>> > pillars on the Wikipedia page for "Old Met."  That they were there and
>> > partially obstructed
>> > the view from many seats was attested to in the recent documentary "The
>> > Opera House," by
>> > none other than former House Manager Alfred Hubay, who should know.
>> >
>> > I really don't know why are you are even quibbling about this.  Perhaps
>> to
>> > avoid dealing
>> > with the physical impracticability, if not impossibility, of bringing the
>> > backstage facilities of
>> > the Old Met up to an acceptable modern standard.
>> >
>> > MDW
>> >
>> >
>>
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