Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Opera Nonsense

Ezra Klein links to a Freakonomics blog post that links to Terry Teachout's Wall Street Journal piece wondering why more musical performances aren't booed.

The occasion prompting the article was the Met's premiere of La Sonnambula, which was booed, and though Teachout actually writes that the Met is one of the few places where booing is not unheard of and contrasts it with Broadway shows that always get standing ovations regardless of the quality of the performance, the comment thread in Klein's post somehow twists it all into a case of Met audiences standingly ovating everything.

And wouldn't you know it, the consensus seems to be that opera goers are a bunch of phonies who don't know the first thing about good music and sneakily cover it up by acting as though all opera performances are amazing even when they aren't. (Everyone knows that the best way to conceal one's insecurity and lack of discernment is via indiscriminate enthusiasm rather than with, say, baseless reflexive skepticism.)

Anyway, not much to add really. People are silly, and not least silly among them the Met audience who booed the La Sonnambula production, which could barely be called experimental by any standard rooted in the last half century, let alone "avant-garde"; I'm really reminded of the jerky guy in Farewell My Concubine who was outraged that one of the protagonists took the wrong number of steps between one specific set of lines or something.

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