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Is there anyone else who saw it or plans to attend an Encore?

Speaking for myself, I'd especially love to hear a more about people's thoughts about the singing and the orchestra. The replacement conductor was listed as the head of the opera program at the Mannes School of Music. though I gather that he has conducted previously at the Met. He got a big hand at the end, but it must have not been easy to be a stand-in for Levine.

Generally, things sounded a bit over-miked to me, ocasionally verging on bombast when the chorus, orchestsra, and solists were in full voice. In Act I, especially, what they were singing didn't always sound like Italian. Mattila's Italian especially was mushy. Could this have been an unanticipated consequence of sound engineering?

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.....another encore HD performance has been added at my local theater

THANK YOU PeggyR

After reading Helene's and bart's reactions (2 folks whose opinion I greatly respect), I was kicking myself that my wife and I decided to skip this Tosca yesterday here in Seattle. The "normal" encore here is on 10/28 which is a night we can't go (seeing Seattle Opera's La Traviata live that night :wink:). But given your heads up, I've looked around and sure enough some of the theaters in the Seattle area are doing a 2nd encore on 10/29 at 1:00pm. I just bought the tickets :wink::o.

P.S. For anyone in the Seattle area, I checked several of the normal Met theaters and they all seemed to have this schedule (I know downtown, Redmond, and Kent do).

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I heard a radio interview that Peter Gelb gave yesterday on New York's classical music station, WQXR. Of course, Tosca was front and center in the interview. He stated that he was surprised by the negative reaction to Tosca, and he believes that the reaction occurred because people regard Tosca as "a sacred text". He also said that the "older" audiences are used to the elaborate Zeff. staging,and therefore had a negative reaction to the current production. He also said that K. Matilla would not have appeared as Tosca at the MET unless a new production was created. (This is the trend w. operatic stars here in NYC. The MET creates new productions to satisfy the demands of divas and make a splash. ) The rest of the interview was Gelb's discussion of other new productions at the MET that will be presented in the coming months.

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Thanks, abatt. Perhaps the interview will show up online. I'm sure Gelb has a point but he might want to ease up on the talk about those fuddy duddy older folks in the audience. I see the need to attract a younger audience but the old folks pay a lot of the bills.

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It might be dangerous to overgeneralize about the way the "older audience" takes such things. The theater in which I saw the telecast consisted of almost entirely of retirees. The response was positive, with much applause for the singing, no booing for the curtain calls, and no negative comments (that I could hear) about the production.

Time will tell: but I suspect that this production is not as radical -- and certainly not as opposed to the libretto -- as the original response suggested. Whether it works with a second (and third, etc.) cast will be the big test.

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I also heard most of the interview. I was struck by how much Gelb sees his role as a remaker of opera to attract young audiences. He seemed to put down and disparage the role of a opera company such as the Met to preserve, protect and defend the classic productions. It's rather to make opera modern.

Of course opera was created as a libretto with a score and then the company would stage the production, select the cast and so on. The same production with different casts, orchestras, conductors, tempi and so forth can present very differently and is precisely why the same "production" can be seen again and again, such as ballet lovers return to see Giselle, or Swan Lake year after year. In fact it seems that what balletomanes savor is the cast not the production per se. They want to see different artists interpret the roles. So it with opera.

Gelb's people are not changing the score, the libretto, but rather changing how the opera looks, the scenery, costumes, period of history portrayed etc. Obviously some librettos are more flexible to this decorating than others.

Going to experience an opera is more than the musical experience, though this might be the primary reason to attend. It is a visual one... or rather an integrated one of the music and the visual. If there was no need for the visual, the signer could stand on stage and sing their parts, no different than listening to it on a stereo.

Conceptually I am all for trying new approaches for operas. But that does not mean that a great classic production which has been a workhorse for years, well loved needs to retired forever and replaced with something new. Just the idea implies that the new production will be tossed aside in X years to replaced by another one and so and so on. What remains constant? The the libretto and the music.

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Thanks for your thoughtful post, SanderO. You include a number of the complexities that Gelb -- like all company directors today -- must balance and consider.

Gelb does indeed seem to be emphasizing the need to appeal to younger audiences, with their assumed "newer tastes." In some of the small European houses, this seems to have been a justification for overly conceptual productions -- often done on the cheap -- that ignore or contradict libretto and score. This has not happened, so far, at least, with Gelb's projects at the Met.

Your post made me wonder: what actually happens to older productions when they are replaced? There are sets, costumes, all sorts of plans for blocking, lighting, etc., etc. I can't imagine these being stored in perpetuity; the cost would be too great.

Perhaps photographs, a few significant costumes or props, and -- most important -- an excellent filmed and audio record is the best we can hope for?

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Gelb does indeed seem to be emphasizing the need to appeal to younger audiences, with their assumed "newer tastes." In some of the small European houses, this seems to have been a justification for overly conceptual productions -- often done on the cheap -- that ignore or contradict libretto and score. This has not happened, so far, at least, with Gelb's projects at the Met.

In last year's Sonnambula, Mary Zimmerman moved the opera to a present day rehearsal studio in New York City, where the singers are rehearsing a production of Sonnambula. In addition to ignoring/contradicting the libretto re time and place, the production looked extremely cheap. I doubt I will ever want to see that production again, unless there is an A++ cast. Zimmerman was booed on opening night of that production last season. I'm guessing we will be seeing more of these kinds of productions at the MET in the coming years.

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Your post made me wonder: what actually happens to older productions when they are replaced? There are sets, costumes, all sorts of plans for blocking, lighting, etc., etc. I can't imagine these being stored in perpetuity; the cost would be too great.

Perhaps photographs, a few significant costumes or props, and -- most important -- an excellent filmed and audio record is the best we can hope for?

It's my understanding that the properties are either discarded or sold when one theater is finished with them. Sometimes

a production plan will be sold or loaned to another opera house but the sets themselves may need to be adapted or reconstructed to fit the stage as they are often different.

Lyric Opera of Chicago is sort of implying that the Tosca they are now putting on stage is the Zefferelli production from

Covent Garden. Yes and no. Covent Garden sold the production to Chicago when they decided to replace it about five years ago. It dated from 1964 and Zefferelli staged it for Callas and Gobbi. But he didn't do the sets or the costumes

he just did the stage direction which has long since vaporized. Chicago bought 40 year old Mongiardino sets and some of the old Escoffier costumes although Voigt is pictured in a different out fit for the photos of act 2. I don't see that there is much trace of Zefferelli left here!

The Bondy Tosca is already scheduled to be seen in one or two opera houses in Europe. It's possible it will be revived next season, as it is on the schedule and then not seen again for a while or at all.

Some of the productions that will be replaced have already been filmed. The Zeff Tosca was filmed back in the mid 80s

with the first cast and shows Zeff's actually direction of the singers which has mostly vanished with all the revivals over the years. It also shows the elevator in the third act to change the scene, which I thought at the time was sort of silly.

It' absolutely nothing new for directors of opera house to replace productions of the classics; I'ven been seeing in for my forty years of opera going back to the days when Rudolph Bing was trying to bring theatrical influence to the productions of old favorites. And lots of people yelled then too, I remember the Barrault Carmen from 1967 which had people upset

and then a few years later the Gentele Carmen that also had people upset.

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I believe the Met owns or rents some large (obviously) warehouses where they store their sets and bring them in on huge tractor trailers. I suppose when then feel a production is never going to be used again- they sell of trash it. I would bet that the Zefferellli productions are in storage.

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I believe the Met owns or rents some large (obviously) warehouses where they store their sets and bring them in on huge tractor trailers. I suppose when then feel a production is never going to be used again- they sell of trash it. I would bet that the Zefferellli productions are in storage.

SanderO, I believe I read Gelb saying the Tosca was going to be stored. I think they also are storing the Schenk Ring sets

but the normal course is that they are sold or trashed.

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Thanks for that information, SanderO and Richard53dog.

In last year's Sonnambula, Mary Zimmerman moved the opera to a present day rehearsal studio in New York City, where the singers are rehearsing a production of Sonnambula. In addition to ignoring/contradicting the libretto re time and place, the production looked extremely cheap. I doubt I will ever want to see that production again, unless there is an A++ cast.
You're right! The production certainly had a number of the conceptal offenses that I incorrectly said that Peter Gelb had not yet committed. :flowers: My apologies for having forgotten that.

I enjoyed the production very much. More accurately, I was glad to have a chance to see Natalie Dessay. But -- like you, abatt -- would not see it again. I'm not hostile, just not interested without a lead singer or singers I want to experience.

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I have heard that the MET is putting the Zeff Tosca in storage for now. I have also heard that the MET is putting into storage the scenery from the Ring Cycle that they just retired. It would be a pity to trash these magnificent productions.

It's a personal thing but I don't "get" the greatness of Zeffirelli's productions, at least the stuff he's put on stage the last 25 years or so.

The two worst are the latest Traviata with an Act2 scene2 that looks like a New Orleans bordello, it's gross.

And the other is his unbelievably garish Turandot which looks to me like a Chinatown souvenir shop on steroids. I just don't see it. They are not works of art in any way in my book.

Do you know what WAS a tragedy? the Met discarded the sets for Chagall's Magic Flute. Chagall actually did a lot of the painting himself.

And that was trashed and we have to keep's Zeff's gaudy treasures?

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His productions have declined in quality as they increased in ornateness. The word 'vulgar' comes to mind. (I admit the word also came to mind after reading accounts of some of Bondy's special touches. There are many varieties of coarseness.)

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Re Zefereilli. I agree with you, richard, about the party scene. However, Act 2 country scene struck me as fresh, rather simple, and quite lovely. It's difficult to imagine that both scenes came from the hand of the same director.

I haven't seen the Turandot It will be simulcast on November 7 as part of the Met HD/Live series. The photos of they've been using for promotions (Act II at the Emperor's court) look more like Vegas than Chinatown to me. Only Siegfried and Roy are missing.

I have to admit to loving Zefferelli's dark, crowded, frenetic circus-comes-to-town, World War II era Pagliacci for Rome Opera. It takes place, not in the usual village, but in an empty lot overlooked by tenement apartment buildings. Perhaps coarseness, if that indeed is at the heart of Zeferelli's aesthetic, works better when the dramatic situation is itself on the rough side.

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In last year's Sonnambula, Mary Zimmerman moved the opera to a present day rehearsal studio in New York City, where the singers are rehearsing a production of Sonnambula. In addition to ignoring/contradicting the libretto re time and place, the production looked extremely cheap. I doubt I will ever want to see that production again, unless there is an A++ cast. Zimmerman was booed on opening night of that production last season. I'm guessing we will be seeing more of these kinds of productions at the MET in the coming years.

I liked that production. It didn't work close to 100%, but it was "La Sonnabula", not "Parsifal". (I thought it would have worked better if instead of an inn, they had made it the baritone's dressing room.) The staging didn't hurt the music, and I had a perfectly fine time at the movies watching it. If I lived in NYC, I would have seen it live.

and then a few years later the Gentele Carmen that also had people upset.

I really liked that production, but I tend to like productions that put some steel into 19th century works.

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I have to admit to loving Zefferelli's dark, crowded, frenetic circus-comes-to-town, World War II era Pagliacci for Rome Opera. It takes place, not in the usual village, but in an empty lot overlooked by tenement apartment buildings. Perhaps coarseness, if that indeed is at the heart of Zeferelli's aesthetic, works better when the dramatic situation is itself on the rough side.

I don't want to come off as totally disposing of Zeffirelli as a creative force. He was a dynamo when he started out in the 50s and his early opera productions were striking and innovative. His first Met production, Falstaff, was a masterpiece; I think the term is totally deserved here.

And many aspects were NON-tradtional and had conservative audiences on edge. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Certain things really resonated with him, the grubby Pagliacci is one. It really compliments the opera. His first version of La Boheme was another home run (the version the Met has is similar but it's been bloated up a bit).

But as Dirac said, the quality declined. Artists often run out of things to say and they repeat themselves. Or they try to throw in everything but the kitchen sink to mask the thinness of the content.

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I wonder if the Chagall sets could be recreated...it would certainly be better than the 70's acid trip nightmare Magic Flute they have now.

Hans, it interesting that you bring this up. I believe it might be possible.

Last March the Met held it's 125 Anniversary Gala. It was a collection of scenes and arias and the twist was that all the numbers were presented as being "staged".

And they went almost all the way back in their history for the settings and costumes. They didn't use actual sets, they recreated them using projections. The costumes were recreations from photographs. So the Siegfried final scene was done with projections from the 1899 sets and costumes that went with them. The Rosenkavalier trio was sung against a projected backdrop recreation of the 1912 Roller sets with the costumes (and cottony looking white wigs).

And a selection from the Magic Flute was sung in front of a projection of one of the Chagall drops!

To add some fizz, Waltraud Meier sing a number from Carmen wearing a recreation of the costume Valentina created for Rosa Ponselle. Stunning

I wasn't at the gala so I don't know how effective all of this was but some of the photos looked striking.

To bring this all back to your question, last season the MEt revived it's 1963 production of Adriana Lecouvrer and found some of the sets were disintegrated. So they patched the ones up that were salvageable and set the other scenes against projections with an odd chair or sofa as a prop

to add some dimension.

So maybe a recreation via projections could be done if not an actual recreation of the Chagall hangings. For the Met part the Chagall Flute was a procession of drops.

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That is a very interesting idea, Richard--I'd never thought of doing it with projections. I doubt they'd want to bring back the Chagall right now, as Julie Taymor is a big name, but it's nice to know that it might, in one way or another, be possible. Chagall was, after all, a major artist, and just tossing out his sets seems quite short-sighted.

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That is a very interesting idea, Richard--I'd never thought of doing it with projections.

Projections and "virtual scenery" are certainly the wave of the future at the MET, and perhaps elsewhere. They were used heavily at the MET's 125th season gala last year to great effect to re-create old scenery. Projections also play a heavy role in the current production of Damnation of Faust at the MET. I have also read that Robert Lepage intends to make use of projections and "virtual scenery" in the new production of the Ring Cycle he is creating for the MEt. I would have thought that using "virtual scenery" would be cheaper than using actual, physical scenery, but I don't know that for a fact.

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I don't want to come off as totally disposing of Zeffirelli as a creative force. He was a dynamo when he started out in the 50s and his early opera productions were striking and innovative. His first Met production, Falstaff, was a masterpiece; I think the term is totally deserved here.

And many aspects were NON-tradtional and had conservative audiences on edge. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

True. And his production of Shakepeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' was revolutionary at the time.

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