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On the Met’s opening, and City Opera’s closing

If I were in the habit of supporting the arts with multimillion-dollar checks, bereft over City Opera’s disappearance and frustrated by the Met’s complacence, I would get on the phone with the Hungarian conductor and sometime stage director Iván Fischer. This past summer, at the Mostly Mozart Festival, he conducted his own fabulously imaginative and vivaciously executed staging of The Marriage of ­Figaro. It opened as if the hall were his drawing room and the audience his invited guests. Fischer ambled around smiling and chatting, until it was time to give the signal and the overture was served. The production dispensed with sets, except for a few costume racks. Gowns soared above the stage, then dropped when a character needed to change into one, often in mid-aria. The effect was electrifying.

That’s the kind of productions I want the next New York opera company to offer: frugal, portable, dynamic, and memorably alive.


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