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Subject: Re: the real final night at the old Met 1966
From: Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Michael McPherson <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:19:55 -0400
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Alain,

Many thanks for these links. Fascinating.

Michael

Michael J. McPherson
[log in to unmask]




> On Jun 12, 2018, at 11:13 AM, Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> 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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