Saturday, September 20, 2014

Another op'nin, another show

A NY Times article from September 18 details the march towards opening night at the Met.

The Met Prepares for Opening Night

In the wake of a much-publicized labor dispute, business at the Met is ostensibly back to normal.  Opening night for the Met's 131st season is Monday the 22nd of September, and this article offers an overview of the necessary work ahead of that day. 

As a collaborative pianist who would give her left kidney to be hired by the Met, it is fascinating to read about the logistics of this luminary organization.   Employing over 1,500 people on certain days, the Met currently has seven different operas are in various stages of production.  The article romantically details how bits of Parisian scenery are shoved up against Macbeth's bedchambers below the stage, and how the versatile Met Chorus alternates by the hour between being a crowd of Spaniards and a crowd of Palestinians.

Should one access the article online instead of in print, the former offers the advantage of a short video documentary.

Opening Night enthusiasm aside, the Met still faces serious budgetary issues.  Peter Gelb, the Met's general manager, assured the NY Times that the budget cutbacks will not be perceptible with regard to artistic quality.   

“We’re cutting back in ways that will make each production slightly riskier,” Mr. Gelb said. “But we’re taking, as we always do, calculated risks.” As examples, he said that the Met might make fewer costumes for understudies, or there might be “an hour here or there of extra rehearsal time that we just aren’t going to allow.”
 While I am generally skeptical that one can cut a budget and get the same results using less money, I hope that my cynicism is misplaced in this case.  Were the Met to suffer a drop in quality, it would be a miserable loss for the opera world. 

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