Sunday, January 01, 2006

Amplification in the Opera House and Concert Hall

Excellent article by Anthony Tommasini in today's NY Times Arts & Leisure section, containing the dismaying confirmation that the orchestra for Doctor Atomic was amplified, as well as the singers, and discussing the long-term implications of amplifying classical music:

Pipe Down! We Can Hardly Hear You
WHEN "Doctor Atomic," the much-anticipated opera about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project by the dynamic American composer John Adams, had its premiere in October at the San Francisco Opera, the critical reaction was all over the place. But whatever one's take on the opera - I found it, over all, a courageous and musically haunting work - surprisingly little was made of one of the production's most unorthodox attributes: the sizeable orchestra had 30 microphones positioned among the players, and the singers wore body microphones.

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