Earl P. Neck


was in my thoughts as I watched a four-hour  ‘Live from the Met’ screening of Aida.  ‘Must have something’.  I took his advice (though not peppermint creams).

must have something

The production was of course lavish, but curiously unengaging.  I think the lavishness backfired on them:  more than an hour of intermissions in total, so they could change the truly astonishing sets.  But while watching this, I began to want a documentary about stage mechanics, not all those singers making such a loud fuss.  And then, in the big scenes, one was so busy wondering if the horses were house-trained, and how the stage managers organised the population of a small village to get on and off the stage, and whether the third spear carrier on the left in the procession had already gone round twice with different hats on, or only once …

Usually the richness of sound and sight gives a real buzz, even if it’s not my favourite kind of music.  But tonight – well, just hurry up chaps and die a bit quicker, could you?

2 responses »

  1. What a missed opportunity – they must have known the intermissions would drag, so why didn’t they prepare documentaries for the broadcast, to answer questions like yours? That would have been fascinating.

    But the big question: How would Earl have produced Aida??

    • They have a luvvie type mini-interview with the stars or conductor or stage manager, (often done by Renee Fleming unless she is herself singing (she is a better singer than interlocutrice)) and the camera wanders about behind the scenes showing what looks more like a building site than a work of art. It is fascinating! But I am right out of the suspended disbelief thing when the opera itself begins again.

      I love your idea of Mr. Neck producing Aida – I think he would want singers with a bit more body urge.

      (is it bad form to use double parentheses do you think?)

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