Sunday, June 10, 2007

Thursday at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera house - pic taken today at 4pm in stark white afternoon light. It doesn't convey Thursday's evening magic.

Thomas had suggested that I go to the Metropolitan Opera house. Unfortunately the opera season closed in May, so there is only ballet for the summer season. Ballet is not my favourite, but I was keen enough to experience the space.
Thursday evening I was in Midtown and made a spontaneous decision to go to the Met. En route in the subway at 14th street I stopped to listen to a brass band from Harlem - about 8 guys playing tuba, trombone, trumpet and sax. I listened and watched for a long while as a constant stream of commuters flowed past and through us, trains coming and going on several different layers....such great music in a trippy space. Loved it.

Went up to 65th street and was swept up in a totally different flow ....a throng of well-dressed people in evening gear, hurriedly clip-clopping their way to the Opera house. The Lincoln Centre is beautiful – 3 buildings around a central plaza with a fountain. The fa├žade of the Met Opera looked exquisite - beautifully lit as it was becoming dusk and two enormous colourful Matisse panels visible through the arched windows. I was expecting a classical Pantheon-style opera house ....but this was far more beautiful. Breath-taking.

The choreography of Sleeping Beauty was very traditional – it felt like something straight out of the 70s - I didn’t know such dinosaur productions still existed. I confess I don’t appreciate classical ballet: the dozens of identical pirouettes, the symmetry (4 steps and a turn to the left, 4 steps and a turn to the R), and the general overpopulation on stage with dozens of dancers doing the same thing … it just doesn’t inspire me. Nevertheless there were a few great male solos, and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the sumptious interior of the opera house - the gold ceiling, scalloped like an abstract flower, with a constellation of central lights, the wood panelling, the red carpets. And in the vestibule the sweeping flights of stairs which seem to wind their way organically, like the interior structure of a shell. It was an experience not to be missed.

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