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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Blogger Walks the Plank

Met management fights to defend the Ring...from reporters.
Women and bloggers first. Lego® sculpture by Sir Dillon.
Like the whirring, clanking planks that make up the set of its new multi-million dollar production of Wagner's Ring, Metropolitan Opera's general manager Peter Gelb has been spinning in recent weeks. His object: to draw audiences to the company's new production of the Ring Cycle in  following a scathing critique from Alex Ross in the pages of the New Yorker. The latest victim of the hype is WQXR blogger Olivia Giovetti.

Ms. Giovetti is one of the writers of OperaVore, the classical music station's blog covering the ups and downs of our fair city's opera companies. (It's kind of like this blog, without the humor and snappy color scheme.)

The Met general manager objected to Ms. Giovetti's recent post, Three Things We Learned From Peter Gelb Today. That post was then withdrawn from the WQXR website.

A story in today's New York Times by the always reputable Daniel J. Wakin indicates that the Metropolitan Opera general manager contacted radio station management and objected to Ms. Giovetti's artice. Mr. Gelb told the Times that he found the article "an awful and nasty piece, which in my opinion was totally unjustified."

The Metropolitan Opera is one of the minor sponsors of WQXR and allows its performances to be broadcast live on the Toll Brothers Radio Network. 

Ms. Giovetti's article was written as a response to Peter Gelb's Times interview with Anthony Tommasini earlier this year. She also quoted Mr. Ross' New Yorker critique of the Met's new production of Wagner's Ring cycle: "Pound for pound, ton for ton, it is the most witless and wasteful production in modern operatic history."


Here's a short excerpt from Ms. Giovetti's piece:
"We came to the Met expecting to see Santa with a Norway Spruce unable to shield the mountain of presents buried underneath. Instead, we saw a silvered fake tree being sparsely filled by our parents in the middle of the night on December 24. Gelb’s faltering on semantics this week is the equivalent of those same parents saying 18 months later that perhaps it’s possible that St. Nick does not, in fact, exist."

Although the article has been removed from the WQXR site, a cached copy is currently being hosted on Parterre Box.

In other Ring-related news, attendees at last night's performance of the Ring posted on Parterre Box's message boards that the mechanical contraption malfunctioned during Act II of last night's Siegfried, with one plank stubbornly refusing to change positions during the forest scene. 
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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.