Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New York Myopia

This morning George Loomis filed a review from Brussels of the current production of György Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre at La Monnaie for the Arts section of the Web site for The New York Times. Never mind that it trails the Financial Times review by Francis Carlin by about one and a half weeks or that it did not make it to the print edition. New Yorkers may want to be informed about opera outside New York, but the information does not have to be timely enough for planning a trip to Belgium! Still, the Times attitude towards Europe does not annoy me as much as its awareness of the rest of the United States. I wish some editor had caught the dismissive tone of the final paragraph of Loomis' dispatch:

Despite the success “Le Grand Macabre” has had in Europe, it generally has languished in America. La Monnaie’s staging is a co-production with the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona), the English National Opera (London) and the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. It is a pity that an American opera house is not among them.

It may be that Ligeti isn't getting much respect in New York, but San Francisco has a long history of being very receptive to his work. That happens to include Le Grand Macabre, which received first-rate treatment from the San Francisco Opera in the fall of 2004 in a production shared with the Royal Danish Opera under the direction of Kasper Bech Holten with Michael Boder in the pit. (I posted a photograph on my old blog.) Ligeti has never "languished" in the Bay Area; and, if New York has yet to wake up and smell the spices of his Hungarian wit, they should not go around blaming the rest of the country!

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