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Friday, September 30, 2011

Met Slashes Costs, Solves Sword Issue

Opera Company introduces Properties Crossover Initiative.*
Paul Richter as Siegfried in a scene from Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen: Siegfried.
In a measure designed to cut costs and promote "creative synergy" between opera productions, the Metropolitan Opera has announced that its new productions will recycle props and costume elements from its other stagings of operas, re-using them as part of its new Ring cycle.

Known behind the scenes as Executive Order PCI 1138 (or, more informally, Operation: Nothung, the initiative will be introduced with the current run of Donizetti's Anna Bolena and the new production of Wagner's Siegfried, opening on October 27.


The plan calls for the sword from Siegfried (known to Wagnerians as "Nothung") to be used for the (offstage) decapitation of the soprano, who sings the role of doomed English queen Anne Boleyn in the Donizetti opera.

"The first time we tried this, the sword broke," said prop-master Aloyisus Kaputnik. "But then we realized that the prop sword" (from last season's new production of Die Walküre) "was designed specifically to shatter onstage."

"As a weapon, it's pretty useless", Mr. Kaputnik admitted. "I wanted to use the guillotine from Andrea Chenier but was voted down on grounds of historical inaccuracy."

"We have higher hopes for the sword for Siegfried", spokesman Peter Paul Mars said. "Robert Lepage's 'Machine' set is not just the centerpiece of our production. Plank No. 23 has inside it a fully functioning minature blast furnace, which can be used to forge a high-tensile weapon that can then decapitate any soprano."

"It was either that, or buy a sword online," Mars added.

*Don't believe everything you read. 
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.