Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization (Abridged)

'The Metropolitan Opera, as part of the labor agreement
with its chorus and orchestra announced Monday,
said it would stage a limited run of its new production
of "The Magic Flute" reduced to about 90 minutes.
... The performances, to take place in the winter holidays
of the 2006-7 season, will be aimed at both children
and adults. The shortened production is part of a broader
focus on building audiences, an effort that the Met began
only several years ago, Mr. Volpe said. Just what will
be cut from the production has yet to be negotiated
by the director, Julie Taymor, and James Levine,
the music director."

Daniel J. Wakin, New York Times, June 28, 2005
(with thanks to ArtsJournal.com)


Comment: During two recent late autumn and winter holiday
trips to Hamburg, Germany and Vienna, Austria, I have
attended hugely imaginative stagings by, respectively,
Achim Freyer and Marco Arturo Marelli/
Dagmar Niefind, of Mozart and Schikaneder's profound
masterpiece, "The Magic Flute". On both occasions,
the sold-out houses were filled with children, in their
winter and holiday finery. In both cases, the children
remained focused, and enchanted, throughout the near
3 hour productions. I wonder whether children, of both
western and eastern Europe (as well as East Asia) have
greater atttention spans than American children, and
adults, in the 21st century? And I truly hope that this
abridged masterpiece will not replace unabridged MET
performances of Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel",
at holiday time; nor that it absorb financial resources that
should be dedicated to the MET performing one
American opera each and every season.


Image from Achim Freyer's staging of "The Magic Flute"
("Die Zauberflöte") :



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