Cher Public

Levine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

“[James] Levine is annoyed by the question of why the Metropolitan goes through the expense of restaging operas. ‘There’s every reason to do a new Aida, burnt costumes or no. How many years can you ask your subscribers to see the same production? That’s one reason. Another is that once you’ve seen a production or played it a number of times the flaws in it become more irritating. Time marches on and the production remains the same. Nothing should remain frozen in the performing arts.” New York Times, February 1, 1976.

  • Porgy Amor
  • Sanford Schimel

    Which begs the question: how old is the Puritani?

    • Porgy Amor

      It was coming up later in the month that piece ran.

      ***

      Metropolitan Opera House
      February 25, 1976
      Benefit sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild
      for the production funds
      New Production

      I PURITANI {9}
      Bellini-Pepoli

      Elvira………………Joan Sutherland
      Arturo………………Luciano Pavarotti
      Riccardo…………….Sherrill Milnes
      Giorgio……………..James Morris
      Enrichetta…………..Cynthia Munzer
      Gualtiero……………Philip Booth
      Bruno……………….Jon Garrison

      Conductor……………Richard Bonynge

      Director…………….Sandro Sequi
      Set designer…………Ming Cho Lee
      Costume designer……..Peter J. Hall

      • Sanford Schimel

        I was being facetious. I looked it up. I just think it’s fascinating that we still haven’t replaced it in 41 years which is ironic given the article.

        • Porgy Amor

          Indeed. I also wonder if Mr. Dexter would have expected his colleague and later foe’s final opera as the titled music director of the Met to be his (Dexter’s) 37-year-old Entführung.

  • Cameron Kelsall

    Fast forward 40 years:
    Jacqueline Desmarais, one of the Met’s longtime managing directors and donors, was also upset after seeing “Tosca” and confronted Gelb just before a board meeting. Desmarais is in a position to single-handedly resolve the Met’s financial plight. When her husband, the Canadian financier and conglomerate head Paul Desmarais, Sr., died, in 2013, he left a fortune estimated by Forbes at $4.6 billion. At a subsequent board meeting, Desmarais raised her hand and asked, “Will I ever see the old Zeffirelli production of ‘Tosca’ in my lifetime?”

    • La Cieca

      Seriously, fuck her.

  • Something that puzzles me is why, when cash is supposed to be in short supply, the Paris opera changes its productions so often. Next season’s Parsifal is a new production, on the grounds that the previous one was ten years old (nine really). But we only had one chance to see it -- it hasn’t kept coming back over the past nine years. And the chances of a different production being as good as Warlikowski’s -- one of his best -- are slim. I would have welcomed the opportunity to see it again. It isn’t even on video.

    If anyone has the patience to do the research, I’d be interested to see how many different productions of the Flute there have been in the last 30 years. Goodness knows, we’ve even had three productions of Saint François d’Assise since the Bastille opened…