Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

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lennygoran
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Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by lennygoran » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:41 pm


John F
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:42 am

The David Geffen gift and rename must now be looking like a loser for him and for Lincoln Center. He won't be getting the comprehensive hall change that people will remember and credit him for, and Lincoln Center might not have needed to sell the hall's name and a part of its identity to fund a more modest and less expensive redo. As for the future, if plans for the hall will change or be dropped every time Lincoln Center and/or the Philharmonic changes chief executives, what will you bet that nothing serious ever gets done? As with the Metropolitan Opera House. The odds keep getting shorter all the time.
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:48 am

John F wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:42 am
The David Geffen gift and rename must now be looking like a loser for him and for Lincoln Center. He won't be getting the comprehensive hall change that people will remember and credit him for, and Lincoln Center might not have needed to sell the hall's name and a part of its identity to fund a more modest and less expensive redo. As for the future, if plans for the hall will change or be dropped every time Lincoln Center and/or the Philharmonic changes chief executives, what will you bet that nothing serious ever gets done? As with the Metropolitan Opera House. The odds keep getting shorter all the time.
I'm glad you got here before me. I was going to post similarly, but your experience is far beyond mine. What I don't understand is the report that Geffen is OK with this. As for the Met, at least it does not have an acoustic problem, which is the main concern at Geffen Hall.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:39 am

I suppose Geffen has gotten what he really wanted - his name on New York's premier concert hall - and doesn't care much what else is done to it, if anything.

As for the opera house, there was some talk of restoring the front to the original plan, providing decent space between the front doors and the ticket takers. Inside the house, the women's rest rooms are far too few, and the stairs to the upper levels are inadequate if an emergency evacuation is needed. Despite the huge cost of "the machine" for Lepage's Ring cycle, may it work properly this time, the backstage equipment is half a century old and could be replaced by new, computer-run machinery that would make scene setting and changing quicker and, of course, would require fewer of those expensive stage hands. But these are big ticket items, and while the Met might have been able to afford them in the 2000s when its finances were in better shape, Joseph Volpe declined to join in the Lincoln Center renovation project, and the Met is now challenged just to meet its running costs.

By the way, the title of this thread is misleading. It should be, Geffen Hall Renovation Plan Scrapped.
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:19 pm

This is not surprising to me at all. There are multiple problems with the NY Philharmonic that go beyond the hall itself: both financial and musical. Maybe Jaap van Zweden can solve the musical problems, but something needs to be done about attendance, which is down. The hall is in poor shape, and something needs to be done about upgrading it, but who wants to pour good money after bad? As at the MET, there is simply not enough excitement and star power at the Philharmonic: caretaker conductors are not the answer.

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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:06 am

Who would you choose that's alive and available?
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by lennygoran » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:03 am

Now I see geffen has spoken out on this. Len

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/arts ... front&_r=0

John F
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:49 am

Actually he hasn't. His complaint: "I had hoped the money I gave them would inspire more giving." But it's had the opposite effect. By grabbing the naming rights, for what many see as a bargain price, he has removed the incentive for other millionnaires like him to give big. Does Geffen not realize this? I shouldn't think he's that naïve.
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lennygoran
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by lennygoran » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:48 am

I hadn't thought of that angle. Where's the millionaire's tax when we need it! Len

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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:32 am

John F wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:49 am
Actually he hasn't. His complaint: "I had hoped the money I gave them would inspire more giving." But it's had the opposite effect. By grabbing the naming rights, for what many see as a bargain price, he has removed the incentive for other millionnaires like him to give big. Does Geffen not realize this? I shouldn't think he's that naïve.
I get your main point, but shall we make that billionaires? Geffen is one of the richest men in the country, and one of the few of them who are politically liberal. Perhaps irrelevantly, he is also gay, and he and his partner were on the guest list for the last state dinner in the Obama administration. Imagine that happening if the current occupant of the White House ever gave a state dinner.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by maestrob » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:33 pm

John F wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:06 am
Who would you choose that's alive and available?
Rattle :mrgreen:

Seriously, though, you pose an excellent question. Both the MET and NY Philharmonic need new blood, and although I've heard some very fine recordings and MET broadcasts from Nezet-Seguin, who has already been chosen by the MET, the NY Philharmonic may have chosen a winner in Jaap van Zweden: he's certainly better than the forgettable man we have now, IMHO. Edward Gardner comes to mind: I have Walton, Janacek, Brahms (an exquisite Violin Concerto w/Capucon/Vienna), Verdi's MacBeth and some others I can't think of right now that are truly outstanding. Vasily Petrenko, whose Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Elgar wowed me, is another candidate for NY in my mind (now in Liverpool). Also Honeck (now leading Pittsburgh), whose recordings of Mahler,Tchaikovsky and Strauss I've reviewed elsewhere with enthusiasm.

The serious question is would they be willing to tackle the Philharmonic in its admittedly ragged state (by that I mean the condition of the hall), along with the orchestra's attitude. Conductors and orchestras don't relate to each other as they did during the Bernstein years, and the music-making is often correct but far too tame for my taste. The recordings listed above transcend that problem, and are truly inspiring to yours truly, so the question remains, are the three above even interested in tackling NY when they are able to make superb music where they are?

Of course I'm willing to be surprised, as I was by the choice of James Levine back in the 1970's. Just look at what he's done: he's been a miracle worker at the MET. That's what we need at the Philharmonic now, RIGHT NOW!

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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:00 pm

Rattle is alive but not available - his term as music director of the London Symphony began last month with an initial 5-year contract, and for what it's worth, he told the LSO that this is his last job. And would you believe it, his demand that London build a new concert hall looks like being met. The estimate now is that it will cost £200-250 million to build. Compare that with the estimate of $500 million just to renovate Fisher, um, Geffen Hall.

Of the names you mention, none seems likely to me to help the box office much, and they don't excite me. Vasily Petrenko is the wrong Petrenko - Kiril is tapped for Berlin. More likely, perhaps, is Vladimir Jurowski, currently leading the London Philharmonic, who has come here with his orchestra several times and always been reviewed enthusiastically. But it's all immaterial, of course, as the Philharmonic's course with Jaap van Zweden is set at least until 2024.
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:12 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:32 am
Geffen is one of the richest men in the country, and one of the few of them who are politically liberal.
The New York State Theater's renovation was largely financed by the man whose name it now bears, David H. Koch; for his $100 million he only required his name to be on the building for 50 years, not forever as with Geffen for his $150 million.

Billionnaires? Not necessary. Ann Ziff, who gave $30 million to the Metropolitan Opera in 2010, isn't worth $100 million, let alone a billion. Her only reward, apart from thank-yous, was one term as chair of the Met's board.
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by maestrob » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:32 pm

John F wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:00 pm
Rattle is alive but not available - his term as music director of the London Symphony began last month with an initial 5-year contract, and for what it's worth, he told the LSO that this is his last job. And would you believe it, his demand that London build a new concert hall looks like being met. The estimate now is that it will cost £200-250 million to build. Compare that with the estimate of $500 million just to renovate Fisher, um, Geffen Hall.

Of the names you mention, none seems likely to me to help the box office much, and they don't excite me. Vasily Petrenko is the wrong Petrenko - Kiril is tapped for Berlin. More likely, perhaps, is Vladimir Jurowski, currently leading the London Philharmonic, who has come here with his orchestra several times and always been reviewed enthusiastically. But it's all immaterial, of course, as the Philharmonic's course with Jaap van Zweden is set at least until 2024.
I wasn't serious about Rattle, btw, as I thought Mr. Green made clear. Sarcasm is hard to convey sometimes.

I like Kirill Petrenko as well: we agree on that, but as you say, he's already tapped for Berlin.

I'll have to take another look at Jurowski: I only have his frenetic recording of The Planets to go by.

As for van Zweden, I'm pleased with some of his later recordings (see my thread on him), so we'll see what he can do.

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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:38 pm

I understand why your preferences are based mainly (entirely?) on recordings, but as we both know, you have to see and hear the conductor and orchestra in action to make a proper assessment of their interaction and chemistry. Riccardo Muti's recordings of Verdi operas don't do much for me, but there was much more excitement in his Met performances of "Attila."
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by maestrob » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:29 am

John F wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:38 pm
I understand why your preferences are based mainly (entirely?) on recordings, but as we both know, you have to see and hear the conductor and orchestra in action to make a proper assessment of their interaction and chemistry. Riccardo Muti's recordings of Verdi operas don't do much for me, but there was much more excitement in his Met performances of "Attila."
Actually, I think that we disagree on this too. Many recordings nowadays are of live events, because of your point above and they are cheaper to produce than studio recordings. Those live recordings are therefore good indications to me of a conductor's quality. Also, in opera, DVDs are almost exclusively live performances, so one can easily see the chemistry in the house.

As for orchestral CDs produced in the studio, they show the Maestro at his/her best most of the time, and a trained ear can tell whether whoever is conducting has an electrifying, inspirational personality or not. MHO, but there it is.

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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by John F » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:20 pm

It ain't necessarily so. Live recordings are in many ways as artificial products as studio recordings; their balances, for example, are more in the producer's hands than the conductor's, and they are optimized by selection and editing. Also, the performers know when they are being recorded for possible publication and have a clear incentive to play it safe.

When recordings are all that's available to you, as when I was growing up in the sticks, you can get a false impression. For example, the Boston Symphony under Munch played and sounded much better in edited studio recordings than "in the open." Only in the presence of actual performances can you really tell what a conductor and orchestra are worth. At least that's been true for me.
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Re: Geffen Hall Renovation Scrapped

Post by maestrob » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:57 pm

Sorry to denigrate Boston/Munch, but even as a teenager I found Munch inferior to the other "big five," with the exception of the Symphonie Fantastique and the Berlioz Requiem.

We each have our own ways of appreciating music: that's as it should be. :)

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