Metropolitan Opera's "The Magic Flute" Ignites Controversy: Conductor's Remarks Spark Debate on Orchestra's Role

The Metropolitan Opera has launched a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute directed by Simon McBurney, which is presently playing at the opera company until June ten, two thousand twenty-three. In light of its launch, its conductor Nathalie Stutzmann was featured in a recent NY Times article about the production — which involved the orchestra pit being raised nearly level with the stage. “We decided, ‘Let’s lift the orchestra, let’s create people alert of the players,’” the set designer Michael Levine said in the article. “Beca we’re so d to the players being hidden, and they weren’t in the eighteenth century.”

“There’s nothing more boring than being an orchestra musician and being in the back of a cave with number idea of what’s happening on the stage,” Stutzmann told the NY Times in response. “Can you imagine spending three or four hours, five for Wagner, at the bottom of a pit and have number idea what’s happening over you? Not only can the musicians look this ‘Zauberflöte’; some also become portion of the action.” Stutzmann’s comments have received objections the Met Orchestra musicians, who took to social media in a Facebook post titled “Breaking News: Met Orchestra Not Bored.”

The post reads: “In the recent otherwise outstanding article in the NY Times about the Met’s innovative new production of Die Zauberflöte, we were disheartened to read our guest conductor’s supposition that the Met Orchestra might be bored playing in the pit. “Our time spent in the orchestra pit is anything but a ordinary experience, and we don't consider it a cave. Though we may not look the visual spectacle unfolding over us, we know exactly what's happening onstage. We wish to emphasize the passion we perceive for our craft and the enormous quantity of preparation we undertake in order to have a deep information of that which we cannot see. We study the score and the synopsis and are keenly alert of our role at any given moment—sometimes supporting, sometimes soloistic.

“We intuitively realize the challenging acoustics of our enormous opera ho, and we've cultivated a state of artistic flexibility that allows us to smoothly modify to the sometimes nail-biting moments of live theater. We're highly attuned to the ever-changing needs and choices of singers, and we appreciate collaborating with them to meld the artistry on stage with that in the pit. In this way, we proposal our audience a fresh artistic perspective night after night. In short, we're not bored but, rather, exhilarated. And we get huge pride in our skill to both support the world’s greatest opera stars and be one of the world’s greatest orchestras.” This production is Stutzmann’s second major project with the Met Orchestra since her debut with them in the past month, performing Don Giovanni. In addition to being a contralto singer, Stutzmann is currently the music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In a letter obtained by slippedisc, Stutzmann apologized to the musicians of the Met Orchestra saying: "It saddens me deeply that my comments, as reported in the NY Times on eighteenth May have cad such disappointment amongst the orchestra.

My intention was only to celebrate the fact that Simon McBurney’s wonderful production of The Magic Flute celebrates the orchestra visually, including it in the production, and I wanted to focus on that." The audience can look you love never before, and you can look all the action on stage. It gives me much joy to be portion of this positive experience. It was certainly not my intention to diminish or undervalue in any way the stature and standing of your outstanding orchestra. I realize the grand pride you get in always being attuned to the singers on the stage, regardless of the physicality of the pit.

Maybe I shouldn't have overlaid my experiences in the opera pit, when I was a bassoonist all those years ago! I'm convinced that opera is the ultimate art-form which unites so many different genres, but for me the most necessary of all is the musical soundtrack – maybe we could more frequently work with directors that bring more visibility for orchestral players in particular."

2023 © Opera World
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram