December 4, 2017

"For decades, the Met was essentially the Levine Company. Its identity was intertwined with his. His taste in composers..."

"... his relationships with singers, his hires, orchestra, conducting style... Audiences burst into applause as soon as his corona of springy curls bobbed into the spotlight... His cheery, seemingly eternal presence thrilled the board and helped keep the spigot of donations open. I’m not sure the Met can survive Levine’s disgrace. The company is an outgrowth from, and a uniquely regressive example of, the 19th-century commercial opera houses that flourished through specialization, activity, and growth. August companies erected massive buildings, mounted expensive shows, packed in audiences, and concentrated prestige in the hands of very few gatekeepers, all of them men. That power structure produced a century and a half of lavishly misogynistic operas in which women are constantly going mad, turning into prostitutes, dying, or all three...."

Writes Justin Davidson in "The Met May Not Survive the James Levine Disgrace" (at NY Magazine).

How can an organization that big become so dependent on one individual? Quite aside from the potential for a scandal that would require him to be banished from society, he, like everyone else, could die or become mentally or physically incapacitated. What an absurd risk to take, to go on so long and build so much, all intertwined with one man! And it looks as though the Metropolitan Opera has had reason to know for a long time that James Levine was susceptible to a colossal scandal.

Did the people who were so dependent on him believe that his magic extended to silencing the boys upon whom he (allegedly) transgressed? What arrogance, and yet perhaps the entire enterprise of the Metropolitan Opera is arrogance upon arrogance, an overweening — operatic — conglomeration of arrogance.

Or was it that the Met had gone so far in the direction of Levine's "uniquely regressive" idea of opera that only Levine could maintain the crazy, outdated vision it has for itself. Davidson seems like he knows what he's talking about. I don't know what it takes to maintain a gigantic opera enterprise in our day. There is something magnificently archaic about it, making it a shared delusion that perhaps requires a charismatic cult leader. And when that's who you've got running a grandiose game, the transgressions may seem like part of the necessary craziness, and you may get to thinking that special rules apply to your leader.

And when the great man of opera falls, the fall should be operatic. He must take the whole overblown set crashing down in the final scene.

85 comments:

Carol said...

Eternal Life, brought to you by Viagra.

Curious George said...

Penn State Football survived.

Thomas Cooper said...

"How can an organization that big become so dependent on one individual?"
I suspect Davidson is mistaken: it's just a theory of his... an assertion backed up by few facts.

whitney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whitney said...

Blogger whitney said...
My aunt and uncle are great supporters of the Opera in our town and they go see the HD movie Metropolitan Opera regularly. I frequently accompany them. And I think everyone is aware the Opera is dying because it is nothing but little gray-haired people in the audience.

james james said...

If it is a religion it doesn't matter who the pastor is.

If it is a cult, the only thing that matters is the leader.

We'll find out if the Opera Crowd are religious in devotion, or just drink the Kool-Aid.

- james james

rcocean said...

"And I think everyone is aware the Opera is dying because it is nothing but little gray-haired people and the audience."

I got news for you. Opera was been dying for 30 years. It was full of Gray-haired people 30 years ago. Some peeps get more sophisticated and richer as they age, and find out Opera is their thing.

Chuck said...

I disagree with the story. The Met can certainly survive Levine. But it is n enormous loss. As a religious listener to the Saturday radio broadcasts, I could always tell, even when I tuned in late, if Levine was conducting. Nobody could compare.

And while they have been thinking about Levine's successor for a while due to his obvious health issues, I don't think there is an heir apparent. There are only so many hours in the day for Ricardo Muti, at his own advanced age.

buwaya said...

The feminist foolishness in the article is interesting.
Opera, done right, is a primal, gut level thing.
A "Carmen" in other words. Or a "Don Giovanni".
The complications of life and the reality of sex come through.
If this isnt ideologically "feminist" then it is so because feminism is false to human nature.

Patrick said...

"What an absurd risk to take, to go on so long and build so much, all intertwined with one man!"

Like the Packers relying oon Rodgers. It works until you discover the back up plan is Brett Hundley.

mockturtle said...

Levine's management of the Metropolitan Opera was masterful. Do we, as you asked yesterday, separate the man from the art? Has Leonard Bernstein's music survived his rumored pederasty? Behind almost every brilliant artist is a creep of some sort. Just as a Christian hates the sin but loves the sinner, let us hate the artist's behavior but continue to appreciate the art. It would be a shame to dismiss Mozart's magnificent music because he was an obnoxious little shit.

Unknown said...


As society makes a concentrated effort to separate art from the artist in cases where the artist has misbehaved, it makes one wonder WHY we don't really know who wrote under the pseudonym of Shake-speare.

It is unfortunate the Stratford tourist industry obscures the question through their commitment to consumer fraud.

John said...

Mozart in the jungle

Available on Amazon prime video

Symphony not opera but same shtick

John Henry

tam said...

If the Met believes that it needs more contemporary women composers and conductors to survive, they aren't listening to modern classical music. I can't think of anything that would be more deadly to an opera company than to drop the old classics for modern krep. The author of that piece has exactly the wrong prescription for the MET's soon-to-come woes.

Michael K said...

Freud's patient who was afraid of horses was Rudolph Bing.

He was "Little Hans who had phobias.

Maybe its opera, although I am an opera fan.

Sir Rudolf's later years took a farcical turn with a romance that was played out in the tabloids. In 1987, at 85, he married Carroll Douglass, who was 47 and had a history of three hospitalizations for psychiatric causes and three marriages to significantly older men. Sir Rudolf was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, those close to him said, and they were able to have the marriage annulled in 1989.

Not as much "Gray Hair" at Tucson opera as New York, maybe,

Rick Turley said...

Now I feel even worse after seeing La Traviata!

David Begley said...

Forget about it Ann. It’s New York.

Anonymous said...

I've got to question the operatic expertise of anyone who thinks it was Faust who collected on the deal.

rhhardin said...

"That power structure produced a century and a half of lavishly misogynistic operas in which women are constantly going mad, turning into prostitutes, dying, or all three"

Why are operas always sad? Stanley Cavell

Women die because they sing.

Big Mike said...

Audiences burst into applause as soon as his corona of springy curls bobbed into the spotlight...

I've never been to an opera in any opera house in any country where the audience did NOT applaud when the conductor came out from the wings and entered the orchestra pit; it's not a New York/Levine thing.

tcrosse said...

The Met is not the only great opera company in North America. Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and the newly-revived New York City Opera are still in the game, to name but a few.

James K said...

It would be a shame to dismiss Mozart's magnificent music because he was an obnoxious little shit.

Methinks you're taking "Amadeus" a bit too literally, as though it's nonfiction.

As for Levine, he'd already retired, and they've named a successor who is well-liked by audiences. And at the Met those audiences are not grey-haired little old ladies. It's a pretty young crowd (at least at night, maybe the Saturday matinee is an older crowd), though if I had to guess it's 40% European.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I don't know what it takes to maintain a gigantic opera enterprise in our day.

Welfare for rich people.

Lots and lots of tax dollars from truck drivers in Omaha, oil workers in Texas, waitresses in Wheeler WV, construction workers in Florida, etc etc etc.

Big Mike said...

@mockturtle, James K beat me to it. Do you have a source for Mozart being "an obnoxious little shit" other than the movie "Amadeus"?

mezzrow said...

I completely agree with Chuck and mockturtle. I don't know when I'll be able to say that again.

Our geniuses can be very bad people, even when they aren't bad people most of the time and have oceans of apparent charm. A lot of what we have seen in the latest truth outbreak is chickens coming home to roost for artists of stunning quality. Many if not most of these likely felt that they would be forgiven.

Why? For bearing the burden of their gifts. For continuing to make things that leave us in awe. Levine was that good. He has known that he was very special from a very early age.

Gahrie said...

it makes one wonder WHY we don't really know who wrote under the pseudonym of Shake-speare.

That's because she was a Black lesbian and PATRIARCHY!!!!!

Michael K said...

If the Met believes that it needs more contemporary women composers and conductors to survive, they aren't listening to modern classical music.

This is the theme of the people who buy "contemporary art" and adopt every new fad from gay marriage to global warming.

When I get opera tickets, I don't buy a season ticket to avoid the "modern" operas" that the money people always have to include.

William said...

There aren't that many hot people in opera. I'd recommend ballet for those molesters blessed with a taste for classical music. Hollywood remains the go-to venue if you want to leverage power for sex with really hot looking people. The people in the modeling and fashion industries probably get their chances too, but Hollywood is definitely the go to place.

Unknown said...

I've never been to an opera in any opera house in any country where the audience did NOT applaud when the conductor came out from the wings and entered the orchestra pit; it's not a New York/Levine thing.

Leopold!

Rick Turley said...

Nowadays, if we read some descriptions of Mozart's behaviour as seen by his contemporaries we can understand better his personality and consequently his works. 'The incontinence of emotions' (as it was later termed by Mahler and Rangell) is confirmed by contemporary accounts of the sudden changes in Mozart's moods and behaviour. Friedrich Schlichtegroll in his already mentioned Necrology writes that the expression on Mozart's face 'was memorable in... its extreme variability. His feature would alter from one instant to another' revealing what he happened to feel 'in that immediate instant.' Karoline Pichler in her memoirs tells of one occasion when Mozart improvised 'wonderfully beautiful variations' to which 'every one listened... with bated breath, and then suddenly 'in the mad mood which so often came over him, began to leap over tables and chairs, miaow like a cat, and turn somersaults like an unruly boy'.

"And the artist Joseph Lange, creator of Mozart's best-known portrait, recalls in his memoirs that the great composer when writing an important work, was able to contrast 'the divine ideas of his music with sudden outbursts of vulgar platitudes'. All these reports echo the words of Leopold Mozart's letter to Baroness Waldstätten in 1782 when, referring to Wolfgang, he writes that 'two opposing elements rule his nature'.

Dr Benjamin Simkin showed in his excellent paper, 'Mozart's scatological disorder', that these character traits, together with Mozart's hyperactivity, playing with words, scatological expressions in letters and speech suggest that the composer was afflicted (or blessed) with Tourette's syndrome."

https://www.thestrad.com/psychoanalysing-mozart/4436.article

Big Mike said...

@mezzrow, I don't know that Mozart was "an obnoxious little shit" as mockturtle claims, but "Die Zauberflöte" is one of my all time favorites operas, not far behind "The Marriage of Figaro," composed by the same Mozart. But, you know, "Così fan tutte." On another thread I asked the thought question. Suppose you suddently found out that Leonardo da Vinci was a pedophile? (He wasn't, as far as anyone know.) Does that make the Mona Lisa less beautiful? Certainly I appreciate Caravaggio's paintings, though he was a murderer.

Anonymous said...

"Or was it that the Met had gone so far in the direction of Levine's "uniquely regressive" idea of opera that only Levine could maintain the crazy, outdated vision it has for itself. Davidson seems like he knows what he's talking about."

Davidson seems like a typically left wing loser. Oh, they've only put on one opera written by a woman!" Was it good? Was it bad? What's teh great opera "written by a woman" that they haven't done?

Or are "good" and "bad" "stupid bourgeois concepts", and the only thing that actually matters is the genitalia of the person who wrote it?

My experience has been that the Met focuses on high-quality classics that might actually appeal to potential theater-going public, with occasional modern crap to appease the critics.

If that is because of Levine, and once he goes they'll become just like anyone else, that will be yet another tragedy.

If he did indeed molest the boys, that's the first, and larger, tragedies. But the Met becoming like everyone else would be another one.

mockturtle said...

Big Mike: Yes, indeed. Most biographies of Mozart portray him to be an obnoxious little shit. If I had time I'd list some for you.

Big Mike said...

@mockturtle, at your convenience, thank you. Pick the best one or two.

rhhardin said...

Bernstein's Candide was good, at least the recording.

rhhardin said...

Montiverdi's Orfeo is the other good opera. All the rest stink.

Rick Turley said...

mockturtle said...

"Big Mike: Yes, indeed. Most biographies of Mozart portray him to be an obnoxious little shit. If I had time I'd list some for you."

See my excerpt a few comments up.

MayBee said...

I'd like to read what Althouse has to say about this year, of all years, Hollywood preparing to celebrate "Call Me By Your Name" about a 24-year old man and a 17 year old teenage boy.

James K said...

Most biographies of Mozart portray him to be an obnoxious little shit. If I had time I'd list some for you.

I've read several (Solomon, Einstein among others), none of which have portrayed him that way. Scatological humor, which was not so uncommon or frowned upon in those days, does not make one "an obnoxious little shit." It would be surprising, given his genius, if he weren't, as Larry David might say, "somewhere on the spectrum," but unlike many composers and artists, he married, had children, and worked incredibly hard. There are letters in which he describes his typical day, which would exhaust most mere mortals.

buwaya said...

There are a few hot people in opera.
Elina Garanca for one. But she does seem rather ferocious.

buwaya said...

Btw, there is a "casting couch" moment in "Amadeus".
Caterina seems to seduce Mozart for a part.

Ann Althouse said...

I've made a separate post out of my answer to MayBee.

Jason said...

THIS JUST IN:

Metropolitan Opera nostalgic for days of Kathleen Battle.

Jason said...

What's the difference between an orchestra and Texas longhorn steer?

A: The Texas longhorn steer has the horns in the front and the asshole in the back.

Professional lady said...

Mozart, despite his incredible genius and his childhood traveling around Europe as a prodigy, always struck me as a fairly normal person with fairly normal faults.

Balfegor said...

Levine is fine, sure, but he's not exactly Toscanini. I'm pretty sure the Met will survive unless they tear themselves apart in an orgy of breast-beating over this. I mean, he's not even the Music Director anymore (this guy is . . . kind of)

Jason said...

I thought I was studying Paganini.

But I was only on page nine.

tcrosse said...

For a while I had a source of backstage gossip at the Met. It seems that scandalous goings-on behind the scenes are as old as Opera itself.

tcrosse said...

To be sung in G Minor:

It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's Mozart.

Char Char Binks said...

"That power structure produced a century and a half of lavishly misogynistic operas in which women are constantly going mad, turning into prostitutes, dying, or all three...."

Women do that stuff every day IRL.

Quaestor said...

Montiverdi's Orfeo is the other good opera. All the rest stink.

At last rhhardin and Quaestor agree — mostly.

Love L'Ofeo (only one i in Monteverdi).

General dislike Verdi and most of the rest of late 19th century Italian opera.

Love the Ring Cycle, but most recent productions make me angry. Over the last few decades so-called "production designers" have taken to buying "costumes" at Good Will, or worse. Wotan should not look like a panhandler with a spear. Last year I watch a production of Das Rheingold. There was no scenery as such, and the singers, who were impressively costumed, performed in front of the orchestra. In lieu of a conventional operatic stage with backdrops, etc. this production used a tremendous electronic display something like a jumbotron which showed moving abstract patterns of color — swirling greens and blues to suggest the Rhine, rainbows for Asgard, reds and violet for Nibelheim. No naked Rhinemaidens, sadly.

RichardJohnson said...

Michael K
Freud's patient who was afraid of horses was Rudolph Bing. He was "Little Hans who had phobias. (links back at comment @12/4/17, 9:17 AM

Your "Little Hans" link contains an abstract, which does not mention Rudolf Bing. The complete article is behind a paywall. I have found non-paying links that do not support the Rudolf Bing- Little Hans connection, though they DO support a Little Hans-operatic connection. According to this Wiki article, Herbert Graf (1903-1973), an Austrian-American opera producer, was Little Hans.

Project Muse: 4. The Swiss Connection is a short review of the book Lofti Mansuri: An Operatic Journey. The Wiki article is poorly documented regarding the Little Hans-Herbert Graf connection. This source is has better documentation.

Dr. Herbert Graf, who had brought me to Zurich, was one of the seminal figures in twentieth-century opera....
At the age of four, Herbert was walking in the park with the family’s maid when he witnessed a horse collapse while trying to pull a heavy load. He ultimately developed a terrible fear of leaving the house, convinced that one of the thousands of horses transporting people and goods up and down the streets of the city would do him harm. His worried father approached a member of his social circle, Dr. Sigmund Freud, who suggested the child see him once and then have analytic sessions with his own father, these to be reported to the doctor for therapeutic consultation . The results of the successful therapy were eventually written up in a famous paper entitled “Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy,” in which young Herbert made scientific history under the pseudonym “Hänschen” (Little Hans). Clearly, Dr. Freud knew his stuff, because the child was completely cured and while still a very young man was selected to serve as assistant to the eminent theatrical director Max Reinhardt.



Conclusion: the above documentation states that while there is an operatic connection to Little Hans of Freudian fame, the connection is not with Rudolf Bing, but Herbert Graf. If anyone can come up with better documentation, please do so.

Achilles said...

“How can an organization that big become so dependent on one individual? “

Aristocracy is the placement of certain individuals above the common person. This requires them to be more important than institutions and in most cases the undermining and elimination of institutions.

They did the same thing to the MET they are trying to do to the federal government. They always put themselves ahead of the common good. Above it.

RichardJohnson said...

In addition, the Little Hans abstract Michael K links to explicitly mentions Herbert Graf.

Newly available interviews with Max and Herbert Graf describe the severe pathology of Little Hans's mother and her mistreatment of her husband and her daughter, who committed suicide as an adult. Reread in this context, the text of “A Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy” provides ample evidence of Frau Graf's sexual seduction and emotional manipulation of her son, which exacerbated his age-expectable castration and separation anxiety, and her beating of her infant daughteer.

Unknown said...

Or this is just hyperbole from a drama queen NY type.

Michael K said...

"In addition, the Little Hans abstract Michael K links to explicitly mentions Herbert Graf."

Fair enough. I was taught many years ago that it was Bing but this could be newer information.

The point is that opera depends on composers and librettists, not conductors.

lgv said...

And when the great man of opera falls, the fall should be operatic. He must take the whole overblown set crashing down in the final scene.

Not this made me laugh....in an over-the-top deep baritone sort of way.

chuck said...

I don't have any opinion on the Met, but in my experience musicians love to gossip. One of the perks of belonging to the clan is knowing all the clan secrets. I expect a *lot* of people knew about Levine.

Balfegor said...

And when the great man of opera falls, the fall should be operatic. He must take the whole overblown set crashing down in the final scene.

Zuruck vom Ring!

David said...

"How can an organization that big become so dependent on one individual?"

Crappy, arrogant, preening, uncurious, cowardly and otherwise useless directors.

readering said...

He's 74 and has Parkinson's. Why isn't he simply retired?

mockturtle said...

Per Big Mike: @mockturtle, at your convenience, thank you. Pick the best one or two. I'm back from running errands. These are two biographies of Mozart I read years ago. While I admire Mozart's musical genius above that of all others, I thought he came across as 'an obnoxious little shit', although I probably would have enjoyed his scatological humor.

Mozart: A Life by Maynard Solomon
Mozart: A Documentary Biography by Otto Erich Deutsch.

tcrosse said...

And when the great man of opera falls, the fall should be operatic. He must take the whole overblown set crashing down in the final scene.

Or maybe like the final scene of Don Giovanni, where our hero falls through the trap-door to Hell. His victims rejoice. Curtain.

mockturtle said...

James K argues: he married, had children, and worked incredibly hard. There are letters in which he describes his typical day, which would exhaust most mere mortals.

Being an 'obnoxious little shit' does not preclude his being a workaholic and a family man. A lot of workaholics and family men are obnoxious little shits [and big shits, too]. I've worked with a few.

I certainly agree that the movie Amadeus was over the top but the music had the starring role and F. Murray Abraham's Salieri was one for the ages.

mockturtle said...

Classic opera will never be dead, at least in Italy. Italians of all ages and classes still appreciate the great ones. There is no modern equivalent. None. This is true of classical music in general. Modernity may show a glimmer but fades quickly which is why it never becomes 'classic'.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I've really tried to like classic opera, but I probably shouldn't have. For a long time I'd heard astonishingly beautiful music from opera, works like "Nessun Dorma" and "Un Bel Di", and felt I must be missing out by not understanding opera. I don't speak Italian, and probably wouldn't be able to follow the lyrics even if they were singing in English, so I didn't know what the songs were about. I just assumed they must be of a depth and significance to suit the music. Then I decided to finally take the plunge, to follow and understand the plot lines of some famous operas. It turns out, every one of them would fit in perfectly as the theme of a Jerry Springer show. Stupid women make very stupid choices and end up killing themselves. Why the hell didn't Madama Butterfly just cut her losses and marry that nice samurai who was crazy about her? Why didn't Lakme just decide soldiers couldn't be trusted, and find a nice accountant? Soap operas are aptly named. Regular opera was just proto-daytime-drama. I still like the music though.

James K said...

Being an 'obnoxious little shit' does not preclude his being a workaholic and a family man. A lot of workaholics and family men are obnoxious little shits [and big shits, too]. I've worked with a few.

Yes, but let's have some actual evidence, as opposed to assertion or speculation. Some scatological humor when he was 20 years old hardly proves the case. I read the Solomon bio also and didn't come away with that impression at all. As I recall it was heavily focused on the difficult relationship with his father, and his need to escape to Vienna.

James K said...

Why the hell didn't Madama Butterfly just cut her losses and marry that nice samurai who was crazy about her?

You could say that about a lot of famous stories. Why did Anna Karenina not just stick with her husband instead of fall for Vronsky? Why doesn't Hamlet just get off his ass and kill Claudius and reveal his treachery?

Granted some opera plots are pretty far out there, like Trovatore.

Grant said...

If opera is dying, I sure am spending a lot of money to see it. The audiences for Saturday matinees at the Met include quite a few younger people among the befurred, beglittered and occasionally bepantalooned locals. Of all the performances I've seen in the last 15 years, I think Levine conducted only one. It's true everyone knew--heck, even I knew--and I think that itself may be why the Met will go on now that the news is truly out. They've had years to prepare. But they would be unwise to expect his apparent successor to be issue-free.

mockturtle said...

Tyrone complains: I've really tried to like classic opera, but I probably shouldn't have. For a long time I'd heard astonishingly beautiful music from opera, works like "Nessun Dorma" and "Un Bel Di", and felt I must be missing out by not understanding opera. I don't speak Italian, and probably wouldn't be able to follow the lyrics even if they were singing in English, so I didn't know what the songs were about. I just assumed they must be of a depth and significance to suit the music. Then I decided to finally take the plunge, to follow and understand the plot lines of some famous operas. It turns out, every one of them would fit in perfectly as the theme of a Jerry Springer show. Stupid women make very stupid choices and end up killing themselves. Why the hell didn't Madama Butterfly just cut her losses and marry that nice samurai who was crazy about her? Why didn't Lakme just decide soldiers couldn't be trusted, and find a nice accountant? Soap operas are aptly named. Regular opera was just proto-daytime-drama. I still like the music though.

It's not about the plot. It's about the music. The plot is merely a framework on which to hang it. Just like Shakespeare. The plots are old and timeworn but his way with words is where the beauty and the genius lie.

Professional lady said...

A bit off the dominant topic here - nowadays what is the correct response to hearing a rumor of such a nature about someone? Are you required to instantly believe the worst and totally shun the person accused? Should the person instantly lose his/her job/career? Just trying to figure out the correct balance here.

mockturtle said...

Professional lady: I'm afraid the litmus test will become so stringent that only eunuchs need apply.

mockturtle said...

Maybe I'm the Lone Ranger here but I miss the good ol' days when we didn't have to hear about everyone's sex lives.

James K said...

The first time I saw "Rigoletto" I thought the plot was ridiculous. Superficially it may be, but when I became the father of a daughter, I began to realize its power. It's really about the disastrous result of a father's over-protectiveness. Even if the way it plays out is a bit farfetched, it still captures something very real. That's how a lot of opera plots are. True it's more about the music, but it is tied to the emotions of the characters.

robother said...

Didn't the New York Times report last year that "Little Hans" was actually the young Donald Trump?

tcrosse said...

The first time I saw "Rigoletto" I thought the plot was ridiculous.

You can blame Victor Hugo for the plot. The interesting thing is that Monterone is the only honest character in the piece. Everyone else is crooked in one way or another.

robother said...

A couple years ago, I saw the (presumably Levine-directed) Rigoletto, set in early 60s JFK/Sinatra Era. The perfect update, nailing the essential sleaze of that time, with overtones of Clinton.

buwaya said...

Opera plots are quite realistic.
So was Jerry Springer.
The real world is full of exactly this sort of stuff. Its those who expect reason and common sense that live in an unexamined fantasy.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

the boys upon whom he (allegedly) transgressed

Yeah, that's one way to described what's been alleged, sure. Maybe...maybe not the BEST way.

Hey, unrelated question: how much taxpayer money went to the Met over the time period this guy is alleged to have horribly sexually abused young boys? Seems like we ought to get an accounting of that money, no?

Sebastian said...

I discount any prog critique that derides the brilliant sustaining of a worthy tradition as "uniquely regressive."

Of course, sexual deviance is of all time, but the normalization of sexual deviance, the destruction of standards, derives from the same source as the derision of opera, the Met, and the artistic genius of people like Levine--whatever his sins.

Big Mike said...

@Tyrone, it doesn't matter. I speak German and I'm darned if I can understand more than a couple words at a time in any Wagner Opera. "Die Zauberflöte" either.

Ralph L said...

When opera companies die, you can probably blame the unions before anyone, just as the UAW (and the Federal Government) ruined the US auto industry even more than bad management.

When Opera dies, Western Civilization will be over.

chuck said...

> Professional lady: I'm afraid the litmus test will become so stringent that only eunuchs need apply.

There was a reason for eunuchs ;) Sex is so universal that by the time The Reckoning grinds to a close it will have just scratched the surface. A bit of polish and it will look as good as new.

Michael K said...

Maybe I'm the Lone Ranger here but I miss the good ol' days when we didn't have to hear about everyone's sex lives.

Isn't that the truth ?

Maybe in opera.

"The Marriage of Figaro" when originally written as a play, not an opera, was so revolutionary that it had only one performance before being banned,

The play's denunciation of aristocratic privilege has been characterised as foreshadowing the French Revolution.[2] The revolutionary leader Georges Danton said that the play "killed off the nobility";[3] in exile, Napoleon Bonaparte called it "the Revolution already put into action."[4]

Thanks to the great popularity of its predecessor, The Marriage of Figaro opened to enormous success; it was said to have grossed 100,000 francs in the first twenty showings,[5] and the theatre was so packed that three people were reportedly crushed to death in the opening-night crowd.


That was why it was banned after one performance,

It was accepted for production by the management of the Comédie Française in 1781, after which three years elapsed before it was publicly staged. Initially the text was approved, with minor changes, by the official censor, but at a private reading before the French court the play so shocked King Louis XVI that he forbade its public presentation. Beaumarchais revised the text, moving the action from France to Spain, and after further scrutiny by the censor the piece was played to an audience including members of the Royal Family in September 1783. The censors still refused to license the play for public performance, but the king personally authorised its production.

It was an enormous hit but the king may have erred by allowing it to be staged.


mockturtle said...

Ralph L. asserts: When Opera dies, Western Civilization will be over.

Yes.