Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

The Broken Record

March 10, 2009

The bad flashback of Marta Domingo's first L.A. Opera Traviata
Photo: Robert Millard/LAO 2009

I know that this is carrying on too much, but I can't help myself. That poor excuse for journalism the Los Angeles Times is at it again today. Like many online outlets of major papers, the L.A. Times has elected to dump all of what little arts journalism they have left into a “blog” consisting solely of posts representing all the articles that appear in that day’s print edition. They also cleverly put together a daily summary post consisting of links to all the other posts that have appeared in recent days for those who've yet to master the scroll bar. It is in today’s summary that we are provided a link worded as follows to a prior story about a technical malfunction in a performance on March 5th:

“More 'Ring' woes: Aside from audience disdain (see comments), Los Angeles Opera's multimillion-dollar "Das Rheingold" faces technical problems.”

Apparently if a mechanical lift doesn’t operate as planned in one scene in one paid performance, suddenly the accurately designated multi-million dollar production has “problems”. I suppose if your business is generating news, this might be true, but the two women I sat next to during the show in question were surprised to learn that anything had gone awry at all during the show after I mentioned to them in passing afterward about the technical glitch. There may be problems yet to come, but to imply that this financially massive undertaking has gone awry after one or two unnoticeable mishaps in one or two shows is ridiculous.

As for “audience disdain,” I suppose that less than 20 negative comments (as of today) in response to Mark Swed’s original positive review of the production posted on February 24 represents something. (It is the second time the Culture Monster blog has mentioned the supposed outpouring of negativity.) But I sincerely doubt this qualifies as a “woe”. In fact, sales have appeared to be quite strong with nearly full houses over the last several shows from what I've seen. It may be upsetting to people whose subscription longevity has outpaced their taste, but the company hardly seems to be suffering from a little controversy.

And as for all those complainers and their myriad threats to drop their subscriptions – please do. It will improve my seats, and, without your bitching and moaning, I might not have to sit through another dreadful Marta Domingo Traviata again.



I'm with you. The LA Times seems to be rubbing its hands with glee at anything pointing to the success of the Ring Cycle.
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