Well, the first thing La Cieca will say about the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala is that for all its sprawling splendor it doesn’t look quite what you’d call entertaining. Or rather let’s say it looks as if it won’t sound very entertaining. The visual element — you know, computer-animated Marc Chagall murals and Waltraud Meier prancing about in a copy of Rosa Ponselle‘s Carmen drag — will likely achieve a level of instant camp approaching that of Rosie O’Donnell‘s variety show last night. (La Cieca had no room for the phrase in the previous run-on sentence, but, anyway, good old Rosa’s “controversial” toreador pants ensemble was of course designed by “dyke, ya know” Valentina.)
Leaving aside such questions as “are there really more than a dozen people in New York iwho are really panting to hear Natalie Dessay sing Violetta,” what La Cieca wonders is: can there be a less appropriate selection for a gala than the final scene from Parsifal, and to close the first half (a la Birdie Coonan) yet? Surely someone at the Met realizes that as soon as the audience starts applauding, some heligie Kunst nut will bellow, “Shuddup! It’s a sacred festival play!”
On the other hand, La Cieca feels that in the current political climate it is a deliciously subversive act for the Met to program this music drama for its anniversary, since the company’s 1903 premiere of the work constituted perhaps the greatest example of theft of intellectual property in operatic history. Pirate-y!