On Twilight of the Idols

26Sep07

Did you not see it? Did you not experience the thrill of David Schwimmer emerging from a limousine to shine his brilliant aura across the travertine plaza to the vaunted Roman arches of the Metropolitan Opera? (How many times have we been enraptured by his finely nuanced work and thought, “If only we could see him in person, then our love of music would be affirmed!”) Did you not gaze with awe at John McEnroe, whose incisive serve-and-volley has literally for decades made us think of him as nothing but the most perfect hors d’oeuvre to an entree of Donizetti? And did you not weep a tear of gratitude as Walter Conkrite — as reported in The Times — stated: “I’m just very taken with the spirit of this group of people tonight — it’s followers of the opera and it’s those who like the idea of ceremony”? And were you not equally taken by the keen intelligence and insight on display from his “companion, Joanna Simon, a longtime opera singer,” who said, “It’s like a movie premiere here. We’ve been thrilled with how opera is being put on the New York map, which it’s never been, not to this extent.”

Why must the moderately beautiful and aging grande dame that is Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor be forced to appear — even for these few moments — in such gaudy, worthless trinkets? It degrades and humiliates, the only pleasure to be had is sadistic and voyeuristic, and we are reminded of nothing so much as those pictures from ___ of the lost and betrayed in hoods.

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