The New York Metropolitan Opera held its opening night gala on Monday, September 21, but it wasn’t quite the sophisticated evening that one has come to expect from the glamorous event. The New York Times is reporting that following the performance of Puccini’s Tosca, when Luc Bondy, the director, and his team took the stage for final bows, the boos came roaring from the crowd, which had just been awarding standing ovations to the cast, which included Karita Mattila, who sang Tosca, and her tenor co-star, Marcelo Alvarez as Cavaradossi, James Levine, the Met’s music director and the conductor that night, also got hefty applause.
So what’s the reason for the discontent with Bondy? Apparently, many Met fans were not happy that given that Mr. Bondy’s stark production replaced the lavish veteran “Tosca” of Franco Zeffirelli.
The Times reports:
- “Tosca”-philes will be interested in how the title character took her leap to the death in this version. A classic apocryphal tale has the soprano jumping off the walls of Castel Sant’Angelo onto a trampoline instead of a mattress and bouncing up a few times. This time, Ms. Mattila climbs up a stairs, disappears into the top of a tower and is seen in silhouette leaping forward. Stage devices arrest the jump so she is frozen in mid-leap. Quite effective.
The changes did not have all the audience members enthralled. But it was still quite the glamorous evening, where the raging recession was not entirely apparent. “The jewels and gowns and white ties and tails were abundant as ever,” says the Times. Along with the pop-culture celebrities, classical music honchos were out in force: Alan Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic’s new music director; Clive Gillinson of Carnegie Hall, Ara Guzelimian, dean of the Juilliard School, Joseph V. Melillo of BAM and George R. Steel of the New York City Opera, among others.