“Singer Files Suit Against Met Opera Over Fall”

Wendy White, a wonderful mezzo-soprano whom I’ve heard many times at the Met, is suing the Met Opera because she took a bad fall off a wonky platform part of which collapsed during a performance of Faust. Her injuries have apparently persisted over almost two years.

I missed Faust — the production, I’ve heard, is marvelous but I’m not nuts about Gounod and I don’t go to the Met for the productions. A friend told me about the current Faust, though, and I’ve seen photographs of the alarming scaffolding. The Met has put on a number of operas lately with complex and rather scary sets on which the singers often have to scramble around. Damnation du Faust, with its scaffolding and narrow platforms (and acrobats on ropes slithering head-first up and and down) is one; Orfeo, another and then there’s the current Ring cycle’s la machina, a demon far more alarming than the Fafner-dragon.

The old Götterdämmerung set once broke Hildegard Behren’s arm as she rushed into the funeral pyre.

I feel really bad for Wendy White. Maybe the Met needs to reconsider its exciting production scenery. Why does it think operas are more thrilling with a fear factor? Opera should not be a reality TV show. I’ve always thought the music is the draw.

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