Resetting a classic « PREV | NEXT »: Print Isn't Gone Yet, but It's Not Coming Back

October 27, 2008

Why He Walked Out

Sometimes it takes a non-critic to think critically about a work of art. Ron Rosenbaum's Slate essay on "Doctor Atomic," the John Adams opera at the Met, is spot-on in its mocking assessment of Peter Sellars' disastrous libretto and its deadening effect on the piece. It also poses interesting questions about why some of New York's most prominent critics weren't bothered by the words.

Like Rosenbaum, I attended the opening-night performance, but my impression of the crowd was different from his. He saw reverence in the operagoers' expressions when the lights came up, but in the darkness I heard a restless, sighing audience that couldn't be bothered to shush people who coughed and coughed. The elderly man next to me -- I may be wrong, but he seemed like a Met regular -- checked his watch more often than I checked mine.

Rosenbaum left at intermission. I stayed, but only because the friend who'd brought me is an agent with a client in the production. Dreading Act II, wanting desperately to leave, we stood on the balcony and looked out over the construction site where the plaza's fountain used to be, watching enviously as people slipped away.
October 27, 2008 7:30 AM | | Comments (0)

Leave a comment


Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


    ARTicles ARTicles is a project of 
    the National Arts Journalism Program, an association of some 500 journalists in the United States. Our group blog is a place for arts and cultural journalists to share ideas and information, to celebrate what we do, and to make the case for its continuing value. ARTicles is edited by Laura Collins-Hughes. To contact her, click here.

    ARTicles Bloggers Meet our bloggers: Sasha Anawalt, MJ Andersen, Alicia Anstead, Laura Bleiberg, Larry Blumenfeld, Jeanne Carstensen, Robert Christgau, Laura Collins-Hughes, Thomas Conner, Lily Tung Crystal, Richard Goldstein, Patti Hartigan, Glenn Kenny, Wendy Lesser, Ruth Lopez, Nancy Malitz, Douglas McLennan, Tom Moon, Abe Peck, Peter Plagens, John Rockwell, Werner Trieschmann, Lesley Valdes and Douglas Wolk. more

    NAJP NAJP is America's largest organization dedicated to the advancement of arts and cultural journalism. The NAJP has produced research, publications and discussions and works to bring together journalists, artists, news executives, cultural organization administrators, funders and others concerned with arts and culture in America today. more

    Join NAJP Join America's largest organization of arts journalists. Here's how more

see all archives