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Meow Meow, with Thomas Lauderdale from Pink Martini on piano, at Davies Hall. Really great act that would have been much better in a smaller, intimate venue. (Though then she couldn't have done the crowd-surfing bit.)

 

Believe it or not, there was a girl in front of me who looked about 9 or 10, who grew increasingly distressed with each f-word and risque bit. What parent thinks a cabaret act is suitable for a child that young? Even the songs would have gone over her head, dealing as they do with very adult emotions of love and loss. Also, can someone tell the Davies Hall ushers not to seat people who are an hour late, especially during a quiet song?

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We took a day trip to Philadelphia today to see the last performance of Opera Philadelphia's production of Written on Skin by George Benjamin and Martin Crimp. We saw it when it was done here as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. That time, Barbara Hannigan was in it; this time, the name we recognized was Anthony Roth Costanza. But the entire cast -- and the entire production -- were splendid.

 

Contemporary opera, whether American or British, is really terrific. At least the ones we've been seeing.

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WTF is up with the new Met production of Così fan tutte? The staging is so pointlessly distracting. Like, why the heck does Fiordiligi deliver her aria from a hot air balloon?

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WTF is up with the new Met production of Così fan tutte? The staging is so pointlessly distracting. Like, why the heck does Fiordiligi deliver her aria from a hot air balloon?

 

I've heard it's a gondola of the Ferris wheel. Will know after I see the HD this coming Monday.

 

FWIW, I've listened to it twice so far--last Saturday's broadcast, and on-demand from BBC 3. Given the plot and views expressed, a little distraction might not be a bad thing.

 

 

 

 

Oh, and how do you feel about moving Le Nozze di Figaro to Franco's Spain? Or the update of Tristan und Isolde to a modern ship?

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You can't have a blanket opinion about that. (I mean you CAN -- but you'd be wrong.) It all depends on whether the particular production illuminates the particular piece or not. I have a feeling this one doesn't. But until I see it, I can't know.

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For example, I thought the Peter Sellars Marriage of Figaro made me understand the relationships between the various characters better than any production I'd previously seen. But that was THAT production.

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You can't have a blanket opinion about that. (I mean you CAN -- but you'd be wrong.) It all depends on whether the particular production illuminates the particular piece or not. I have a feeling this one doesn't. But until I see it, I can't know.

 

You talking to me? You can't be, because the productions I mentioned are specific to the Met Opera. Maybe you didn't see them, so you didn't know.

 

And taion also was only talking about a specific Met production.

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No, I saw them all. (Although wasn't the Franco-era production Carmen? I'm not sure I remember a Franco-era Nozze.) I'm just saying that I'm not sure I see the pertinence of responding to a question about one such production with reference to other superficially similar productions that either worked or didn't on their own merits. (I mean, I liked the Rat Pack Rigoletto well enough -- but I'm still skeptical about this production, for all their apparent facial similarities.) Certainly, nothing about this production sounds like it resembles the Treliński Tristan.

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As for me, I have no ideological opposition to this production. It was nice and a treat for the eyes. It was just too, too much.

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Okay, we saw it in HD, which you might consider cheating because we could see the stage both in wide angle and in pretty tight closeup.

 

If you could see the Ferris Wheel at the back of the stage (stage right; on the left looking from the house), you should have been able to see the tiny balloon gondola at one point on it; early on, iirc, baskets for gondolas were visible all around the perimeter. When Fiordiligi was singing that aria, it was very clear that she was in a full-size version of the balloon-topped Ferris wheel gondola; the motions of the two paralleled each other. She was definitely NOT in the basket of a hot-air balloon.

 

Maybe if you saw the original Broadway production of Albee's Tiny Alice, you'd get it. Same idea of a full-size bit of décor paralleling the miniature. But you weren't born yet, were you?

 

We thought the singers were fabulous, even O'Hara. Excellent acting (well, O'Hara was more Broadway than opera house on that, but that was a directorial decision, I guess). We saw both Majeski and Malfi in Le Nozze di Figaro a few years ago (The Countess and Cherubino, respectively), and love them both. And I love David Robertson about equal to Esa-Pekka Salonen.

 

My only negative is probably because of the way the HD shows the principals: anyone close by in the background is highly noticeable as well. Which meant that sometimes, the skill set performers were perhaps a bit too visible, and a little distracting. Otherwise, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Let's just say there are depths to Cosi that this production does not plumb.

 

I disagree. But then, seeing it in HD, I had a great view of the singers as they emoted. So when they showed their conflicts, it was obvious.

 

I don't think the opera would be well served if the sexism were brought front and center; ymmv.

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Not the sexism, but the rather grim view of human nature (which the work ultimately argues we just have to learn to live with).

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Also -- and I'm going to be extreme here, because this is something I feel very strongly about -- if the Met is doing productions that only work in HD (which I don't actually think is the case here, but just in case), then it's killing opera.

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