Operettas at the Met

AntV
Featured Actor
joined:12/23/12
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 04:39am
So I went to the Met for the first time last night to see Die Fledermaus because I heard it had spoken dialogue and therefore was similar to a musical. I enjoyed it because of that.

Now after doing more research on this I found out it was an operetta, which are light operas that have spoken dialogue.

So my question is, does the Met do more operettas? Is there a way to see on their website which are operettas? Are there even any others this season? How often does the Met do operettas? Thanks for any info.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 05:15am
Other than Die Fledermaus, the Met doesn't seem to do operettas. They had a success with Offenbach's La Perichole, (happily recorded) with Cyril Ritchard, and less of one with Strauss's Gypsy Baron, but these were fifty years ago. They do comic operas like L'Elisir d'Amore and Don Pasqule. They abanoned Martha some time ago, which is too bad.

I wish the Met would do more operettas. There are beautiful works by Offenbach, Messager, Lecoccq, and Audran, all waiting to be rediscovered and savored.

Meanwhile, they allowed Douglas Carter Beane, in his inimitable style, to inflict his woeful, sophomoric attempts at humor onto Die Fledermaus, with the usual sorry results. Which is also too bad.
AntV
Featured Actor
joined:12/23/12
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 05:35am
Thank you After Eight, but that is a shame to hear. I was looking forward to seeing some others in the near future. Guess I will just have to give normal operas a try even though I've never even been much of a fan of sung-through musicals.

Beane's book was indeed sophomoric, but I'm not going to lie I did enjoy some of it. Especially Wolfe's attempt to figure out the correct "position" on the tiny "casting couch."

The Met should do more operettas though if they want to attract those who are typically afraid of or turned off by opera. That was the sentiment of the 60 Minutes piece that aired a few months ago. It sure got me to give it a try.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 06:00am
AntV,

It is a shame about operettas not being presented, but there are many recordings of them that you can enjoy.

And I would say by all means, give operas a chance. You might find yourself completely captivated by a magical, new world. I'd begin with recordings of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Rigoletto, and Carmen, and then go from there. One problem, though, is that productions of classic operas at the Met --- and elsewhere -- are so defomed by megalomaniacal directors that one can not really enjoy them properly. What a way for a newcomer to be introduced to opera! It's a shame, really. But you might be able to find dvds of operas done the way they were meant to be done. Search out these.
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 09:57am
I believe the Met is planning a new production of DIE LUSTIGE WITWE for Renee Fleming in the next season or two, with Susan Stroman directing.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
Updated On: 1/5/14 at 09:57 AM
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 10:12am
Why are you asking the question as if you don't know the answer? Don't you work there?
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 11:08am
Speaking of comic operas at the Met (not operettas), currently there is a terrific production of Falstaff, which the Times rightly called, though I paraphrase, one of the best "Broadway musical-style shows" in town.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 02:19pm
^

I'm sorry but I have to disagree. It's a botch of a production. The previous Zeffirelli production did it perfectly. So of course, it had to be scuttled. The prevailing philosophy in opera houses today: if it ain't broke, make sure you break it.

Poor Falstaff. Poor Verdi. Poor us!
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 03:06pm
Works that are under copyright are the author's baby. Works not under copyright are the director's baby. Sometimes it works very well, sometimes it doesn't. But rarely does one do a public domain work because they want to do it the way it was, they do it because they want to do it their way.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 03:26pm
^

That's the problem.
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 03:41pm
That's how art works, however, and the lucky thing is that the great reimaginings last, the shoddy ones disappear after their moment on the stage, and rarely if ever is the original work eclipsed or destroyed by a reimagining, however successful or otherwise.

Shakespeare was an artistic meddler himself. The fact is that he was one capable of great and transformative genius, but he was nonetheless guilty of the same thing as Douglas Carter Beane. The difference- and bear in mind that I often ENJOY Douglas Carter Beane- is that Shakespeare made something sublime and transcendent that was capable not only of lasting the ages but of infinite mutations and permutations. Beane's revisions and reimaginings are entertaining, but less than transformative.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 04:13pm
^

The Met hasn't presented a decent production of either Faust or Manon in over 50 years. How many decades is a person supposed to wait for the "shoddy" ones to come and go before finally seeing a good one? How many decades does a person have to live? You're awfully cavalier when it comes to other people's wasted time, money, and expectations.
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 05:22pm
Of course I'm cavalier about it. Maybe you'll die without ever seeing a great, traditional classicist rendition of any of the major operas. Maybe I'll die without seeing a fantastic rendition of Tennessee Williams as it was original conceived. So what? So we miss out.

Think of the people who spent hundreds of years without seeing a decent production of Shakespeare's actual text until the original versions that Shakespeare wrote came back into vogue. Art is cyclical- it rarely if ever dies.
SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 05:27pm
Not all operas have sung recitative, so don't limit yourself to operettas if that's the only issue you have with opera.
Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 05:35pm
I won't argue with you, but I liked the Falstaff.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 06:07pm
" So what? So we miss out."

How very philosophical of you.

Unlike you, however, some people actually care about what they see on stage... Or don't see.

Fancy that!
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 06:26pm
I admit I was more a NYC Opera guy myself when I lived in NY, but their most tired productions were the war horses trotted out and faithfully rendered. In contrast, their new productions of rarer operas were both respectful of the scores and performed with excitement by the casts.

darquegk, you are technically correct that an author hasn't any legal power once the copyright runs out, but that should NOT make a difference to interpretive artists. Their obligation to be true to the material remains the same, whether the piece be KINKY BOOTS or OEDIPUS. (This is not to say I object to extraordinary re-imaginings, just that they should be rooted in the same desire to clearly explicate the script.)

Updated On: 1/5/14 at 06:26 PM
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 06:29pm
After Eight, you seem to operate from a mindset that suggests that the time for great art, even tolerable art, is a past one, because the mindset that can create it, and more pointedly the mindset that can APPRECIATE it, has died out. If this is the case, then you are legend, to quote legendary science fiction author Richard Matheson.

I have seen some HIDEOUS reimaginings of things, but never have they made me think "you should do it the classic way or not bother to do it at all." It's just made me think, "That was a terrible idea, what were they THINKING?"
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 06:35pm
What darquegk just said.

Updated On: 1/5/14 at 06:35 PM
Dollypop
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/5/14 at 07:38pm
The City Opera did some wonderful operettas in its day. THE DESERT SONG was a delight from beginning to end. Same with NEW MOON.

Am taking my granddaughter to FLEDERMAUS next week. It should be a nice introduction to the world of opera for her.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
AntV
Featured Actor
joined:12/23/12
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/6/14 at 12:20am
Thank you After Eight for those suggestions, I will look into them.

And PalJoey, if my post reads like I work there then I wouldn't mind if someone from the Met Opera, or any theater organization for that matter, contacts me to come work for them. Yes, I am currently looking for work.
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/6/14 at 01:21am
Your granddaughter will love it, and you yourself will enjoy Danny Burstein following beautifully in a long line of great stage comedians as the Jailer.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/6/14 at 05:43am
Danny Burstein is a trouper all right. He deserves all the credit in the world -- and then some -- for hanging in there while being forced to deliver Douglas Carter Beane's forbidding string of groaners and clunkers, all of which land like lead balloons.
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/6/14 at 08:04am
The New Year's Eve audience roared with delight.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/6/14 at 09:06am

I especially like After Eight’s idea here of a proper way to enjoy something.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
OperaBwayLover
Broadway Star
joined:5/17/07
Operettas at the Met
Posted: 1/6/14 at 03:44pm
I listened to the premiere of the new production on New Year's Eve via Sirius, and I loved it. How nice to have a Fledermaus in the same language-have heard many a production where the dialogue is English and the singing is in German, which is jarring. And the jokes weren't too corny like some I've heard before. Burstein's Frosch was great. Wishing this was an HD telecast.

Over on Standing Room, the Met's message board, the opinion about the new production is mixed, while slightly leaning more toward positive. The majority seems to be grateful that the setting wasn't updated to contemporary New York, as Peter Gelb wanted. Ugh.

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