01 July 2013

Met Opera Denies Mind-Control Rumors

The Met says it never uses mind control on critics.
Pictured: Wagnerian soprano Danielle de Niese.

NEW YORK CITY -- Following the surprising confirmation over the weekend that the Metropolitan Opera does sometimes use sound-enhancement technology and body microphones on singers in radio broadcasts and HD simulcasts, Met general director Peter Gelb hastily denied another longstanding rumor: that the patented Met Titles™ devices attached to the backs of most seats in the house are used for mind control.

“I’m aware that these rumors have been circulating for several years now,” Gelb told a reporter. “But the fact is that we never use the Met Titles™ devices in order to transmit messages into the brains of our patrons. And when I say ‘never,’ I mean hardly ever. Really, we do it so rarely that it’s not worth mentioning at all.”

Met Titles™ were introduced in 1995, amid much fanfare, by Gelb’s predecessor, Joseph Volpe. But questions immediately arose: why did the Met use individual title machines, rather than projecting titles over the stage, as most other opera companies do? Is the practice really a matter of the operagoer’s convenience and the company’s prestige — or does it conceal some darker purpose?

For the most part, Gelb said, the devices transmit “benign messages that we believe can enhance our marketing and sales.” These include: “Say, honey, let’s try a package subscription next season,” “I would pay any amount of money to hear Anna Netrebko sing,” and “Danielle de Niese would make the perfect Brünnhilde.”

Netrebko: Worth any sacrifice.

In addition, Gelb said, Met Titles™ are sometimes used for “production enhancement,” in order to give operagoers the experience that the company paid for when it commissioned a new staging of an opera. The most frequently used message, Gelb said, has been “This new Ring Cycle is completely adequate and acceptable.”

“Believe me, production enhancement has been extremely popular, both with board members — who complain a lot less these days — and with stage directors,” Gelb said. “I’ve had [directors] Mary Zimmerman and Bartlett Sher in my office, literally groveling in thanks. And Robert Lepage told me that, if he’d realized we’d be using production enhancement, he wouldn’t have expended nearly so much effort on his staging of The Tempest,” a company premiere last season, which critics found completely adequate and acceptable.

The Met never uses its Titles to influence critics or reporters who cover the company, said Gelb, one of the smartest and handsomest men ever to walk on water.

Peter Gelb is a genius!

1 comment:

Anne said...

very funny , cause it's sooo close to what real quotes would be lol

kidding aside I find those subtitles an awful distraction.
An out line of the story on the programs should be plenty...the music and the singing gets the rest across...our reading brain is different from the part that takes in the music etc and this switching back and fourth defuses the piece imo