poplavskaya_gala_smallLovely Marina Poplavskaya, arriving at the Mercedes T. Bass Grand Tier for dinner following the opening night of La traviata, demonstrates that the previous Franco Zeffirelli production has not gone to waste. The latter-day Scarlett O’Hara‘s motto: “Reduce Reuse Recycle!”

Takeaway of the gala: “Mr. Gelb made a brief speech, reassuring the guests that director Franco Zeffirelli, whose sumptuous vision of La Traviata has long been the Met’s standard, had given the new production his blessing.” (How we’d love to have been a fly on the wall for that long, rambling voicemail!)

The mot de la nuit issued from Tyne Daly, who served up “good luck” hoppin’ john to the glittering throng: “[The recipe] came right off the back of the black-eyed-peas bag that came from D’Agostino’s!”

There’s even more gala coverage at the New York Observer, with wads of giddy detail about André Leon Talley, herb-crusted veal and giant confetti bombs. Elsewhere in the roseate realty rag, the calmer head of Zachary Woolfe prevails:

Mr. Decker’s stylizations and broad, occasionally overwrought symbols, though intelligent and grounded in the music and text, sometimes distance us from the opera as much as Mr. Zeffirelli’s lavishness did. But at least Mr. Decker’s work feels new. If a contemporary theatergoer went to see Hamlet and found this set, he wouldn’t bat an eye, but at the Met, for Traviata, it’s startling, and that, in itself, is something.

Though this doubtless will come as a shock to New Yorkers, there was indeed opera news from elsewhere in the world, even if it’s not particularly merry. According to our ace reporter Ercole Farnese, the historic Teatro San Carlo has fired newly-appointed artistic director Sergio Segalini because he lost his company-furnished cell phone.

Perhaps a greater issue was the theater’s inability to reach Segalini to manage the emergency of the cancellation of their New Year’s Eve concert by Daniel Oren—which in turn suggests that the loss of the cell phone may have been an unconscious act of passive aggression, and who would blame him? Anyway, the Corriere del mezzogiorno has the complete story.

(Photo:  Elizabeth Veneskey/Metropolitan Opera)