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Sound Break

I went to the Times Square simulcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala performance of Puccini’s Tosca this week.  Open air events in New York are a mixed bag.  They seem like a good idea but usually mean hours of discomfort and crowds fighting over patches of damp grass.  The Met’s broadcasts are the exception.  Before the city stopped traffic on 42nd Street, the Met was creating an island of sound in the middle of Times Square every September.  Last night, Karita Mattila’s Tosca threw jealous fits, betrayed a friend to the police, and killed a man – and she was the heroine.  Pure passion rarely leading to pure actions,  the quiet girl secondary roles are never a match for the opera’s courtesans and gypsies.  The angelic Marchesa Attavanti is only ever seen on the canvas Tosca’s lover Cavaradossi is painting, leaving Tosca to fill the stage and quiet the city noise.  Thrilled with the performances but disappointed in the new production by director Luc Bondy, the simulcast ended with the ovations and boos of the Lincoln Center audience.  This year the city shouted back.

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