Friday, May 04, 2007

Last-ditch effort

I just noticed that director Ariane Mnouchkine has been writing a campaign blog hosted by the daily newspaper Libération (which has thrown all pretense of journalistic neutrality to the wind and openly supports Ségolène Royal's candidacy). Her latest post, dated from yesterday, is a plea for people to vote Ségolène Royal. It is impassioned and poetic, and those lucky enough to have seen Mnouchkine's stage work will recognize the tone. It ends with these words: "Will you stand it on Sunday night to learn that we missed by a vote? A single one. Yours. I implore you." The comments are a doozy, and seem to nicely encapsulate the apprehension and mixed feelings shared by French voters.

I myself will vote tomorrow—French citizens living abroad vote a day earlier—at the consulate then cross over to the west side for five hours of the Tristan Project at Avery Fisher Hall. It will be my first live Wagner opera; in other words, tomorrow I'm finally losing my Wagner cherry. Esa-Pekka, Bill and Peter: please, be gentle!

As a side note, that production, which has been received with near-universal raves, was seen at Gérard Mortier's Opéra de Paris a couple of years ago, which makes Peter Gelb's recent catty comment sound even more myopic and stupid: "You won't be attending any performances like this [the Met's 40th-anniversary gala] at the City Opera of the future, or the Paris Opera of the present." He then proceeded to describe Met darlings Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón as "the future glory and hope for opera." In a flash, Gelb undermined all the good will he amassed over the course of a pretty positive first season at the Met. Dumb dumb dumb.

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