Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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I was in love with the atmosphere at the Met. I can’t believe that I have been living in New York City for the past 11 years and I have visited the Lincoln Center area countless times, yet I had never been to the Met before this event. Everything about it looked regal, from the giant fountain outside to the interior that’s completely draped in velvet. Additionally, I thought the little cone-shaped paper cups and large metallic faucets were a nice touch. In terms of the auditorium and the opera itself, I was most impressed by the way the music coordinated so well with whatever was going on onstage. The entire time, I was thinking about how much practice that would take. Additionally, I found myself a little distracted by the little screen right by the stage which displayed the words being sung. I found myself constantly closing one eye and then the other, staring at the little sign, trying to test my vision. However, what I found really cool was how if one looks down one’s row, one cannot see the little screens with the words displayed on them that are in front of the people with whom one is sitting. You have to be directly in front of the little screen on the back of the seat in front of you in order to read the words, so you can only see your own. I remember for some time I found myself contemplating whether or not the screens were consciously installed in this way, maybe to create a more personalized experience for each viewer, and to create less distractions if the eyes of the viewers begin to wander?

I also liked the music score for the opera. I noticed that there was much dissonance in a variety of scenes, which was a clear indicator that some sort of conflict was occurring. I enjoyed the way this takes some guesswork away from the viewer. Additionally, I really enjoyed the set designs. My favorite in particular was at the very beginning when they were portraying people in the sea after the storm and there was a giant blue curtain-like cloth with projections of waves being cast onto it. I thought way in which the characters poking their heads through the projection made the scene seem very realistic. Additionally, later in the opera, a large group of people were pushing a raft down a river and there was a projection in the background of trees going by, to show motion. Such set designs really made me appreciate the way in which the production did an excellent job of bringing the audience into the scenes even though the scenes clearly take place outdoors. I also found this interesting because there was what seemed to be very hi-tech equipment used for these sorts of projections. This really contrasted with the structure of the opera house, both inside and out, which had a very old and regal appearance that you could have found in some aristocrat’s mansion in the nineteenth century. Thus, the regal appearance of the auditorium and building itself, when coupled with the technology making the scenes very realistic, has a very interesting dynamic. This shows two realms, essentially, one that attempts to convey the history of the building through architecture while the other embraces the Information Age.

I thought that all of the characters did a splendid job in terms of their articulation and acting skills. The costumes were beautiful and the characters sung beautifully. The one minor objection I had to this was that Arielle’s voice was extremely high pitched and kept jumping back and forth between odd intervals. Thus, whenever she sang anything, I just focused on the little screen in front of me that showed the lyrics. I found this to be a tad upsetting because of all of the characters, I found hers to be the most interesting to watch. She seemed to have no mass, such as in the beginning when she was performing very dangerous and swift stunts on the chandelier-like structure. In other parts, she seems to be floating away or walking along very thin surfaces. I wish I could have focused more on how she was moving, but I just had to keep looking down to follow along with the story.


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