Janos Gereben wrote:
>A major offense in Scarola's direction (besides the failure to pull the
>piece together) is what appears to be gross insensitivity to the music.
>He insists on having the singers engage in "comic" shticks during their
>arias and duets, provoking audience noise (laughter, applause) that
>interferes with the music ...
It is interesting to hear that because I was at the New York Phil's
recent performance with Kristin Chenoweth, Paul Groves, Patti LuPone,
and Thomas Allen (Marin Alsop conducting). I had the same reaction
(sight gags and shticks sometimes in inappropriate spots and generally
cheapening the show). However, in fairness, they walked the fine line
between genuinely amusing and campy pretty well. It sounds as if this
San Francisco production was either trying to take the NYPhil. concept
to the next level or independently happened upon it.
Incidentally, I have a good amount of respect for Marin Alsop but I have
yet to be amazed by her Bernstein performances, especially the "Chichester
Psalms" on Naxos. The interpretation is serviceable but only seems to
highlight the "joie de vivre" (if I may) that Lenny's own seems to have