Sunday, November 24, 2013

Scotch or Gin, Mr. Woolfe?

A glass of something strong for Zachary Woolfe, who had sufficient fortitude (and a strong enough back, and backside), to attend the entire 9-performance run of Norma at the Met, in the service of evaluating the view and sound quality from many locations in the house. I just wish the Times had scheduled the story - which runs with a similar article addressed to ballet audiences - so that Woolfe could have attended the full run of Die Frau ohne Schatten instead. Norma is by no means an easy opera to get right musically, given its combination of utterly mundane oom-pah-pahs and sublime solos, duets, and trios, and the general problem of conducting a bel canto opera so it doesn't sound like it's all allegro moderato and mezzo-forte, but Frau, with its large cast, exceptionally complex musical demands, and gigantic orchestra, is an order of magnitude or two more difficult to pull off.

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