Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Extinguishing Angel - an afterward

I had to do it to myself -- I just had to see The Exterminating Angel.

The New Yorker gives a small review, a review so dense that I had to read it out loud.
Luis Buñuel’s absurdist 1962 film “The Exterminating Angel” skewers the comforts and complacency of the leisure class by forcing a group of guests to endure a never-ending dinner party that slowly drives them mad. Thomas Adès, in his gripping operatic adaptation, turns Buñuel’s quiet, Surrealist satire into a psychological horror show. The music is filled with sinister foreboding, brutalist percussive noise, jagged vocal lines, and fleeting wisps of romance, and Tom Cairns’s production fences in the well-heeled guests with a cold, monumental threshold that’s far removed from Buñuel’s luxurious yet cozy interiors. The singers work together like a crack theatrical ensemble, and Adès conducts the orchestra in a blistering performance.
I had such a good time watching the show.

 A scene from Thomas Adès’s “The Exterminating Angel,”
based on the 1962 Luis Buñuel film,at the Metropolitan Opera.
Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
I had prepared myself with lots of reviews, but probably not enough of them.

I was telling Eric about what made me laugh in the opera because previous to my seeing it, he had sent me a link to "The Hotel California" and told me that he thought the show was probably a cross between that song and Waiting for Godot.

Eric got the opera without seeing the show.

My biggest laugh came in the script where someone asked why the standards we desire (like having a table formally set with silverware) have dropped.

And the answer to the failed standard was something like, oh, the United States is setting the standard for us now.

Now that is a pretty funny line in an opera.

I would  have prepared 19 other questions and answers if I could have found anyone who wanted to take a quiz after the show for $$$$.

I did get to the theatre a bit early -- maybe 20 minutes.  One man was sitting at the very back and called to me, "I guess it is just you and me today".  I said, "We could go out and have coffee together for the next 10 minutes, but we can just chat here as well".  He told me how wonderful The Met Live performances are but that he usually just goes to New York to see the productions.  He has only seen about three of them in the cinema.  We chatted back and forth until other patrons began to arrive.

The seats were reserved -- I had to pick the exact spot where I wanted to sit.

Because the theatre was empty people were sitting in any spot.

Then someone on my row who had reserved that seat online came and asked them to move.  "Does it really matter when there are so many seats."

"This is the spot I paid for."

"Moving is such an effort when it doesn't really matter," replied the woman in a white puffed coat, stretching her arm out, while pointing to other seats.  The patron who had reserved the seat just stood her ground quietly.

Meanwhile a woman in an ankle length black opera coat was climbing over patrons, one by one, to find her seat.

I thought a Buñuelian absurdist event was shaping up before the movie even started.


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