Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Fear

Daniel J. Wakin's Times article on Peter Gelb and the Met is being received with considerable approval, by Alex Ross and, somewhat to my surprise, ACD.

I like most it, and agree with Alex's comments about repertory. This is especially encouraging:
But he went on to say that the house had been "coasting" and that the old formula — counting on dedicated operagoers to fill the house for standard productions — no longer worked. He also took note of criticism that the Met has not attracted enough world-class conductors. Regarding singers, he said, it has "waited too long to jump on talent."
This concerns me, though:
Performances will be broadcast nationwide in high-definition movie theaters and made available through downloading, if agreements can be reached with the house's unions. CD's and DVD's could follow.

Opera is naturally scaled for live theater, in which the audience isn't right on top of the performers. If live opera is streamed to movie theaters, where the expectation is of intimacy and many close-ups, will singers scale their performances to the camera and microphone? That's not what I want to hear or see, and I would worry a lot about the long-term effects on the art.

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