Met Sea of Blood

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lennygoran
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Met Sea of Blood

Post by lennygoran » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:41 pm

You have to go to the NY Times to see the clips and photos-we saw it live and once was more than enough for us-imo another horrible mistake from Gelb. Regards, Len :(

Watch the Met Opera Stage a Sea of Blood

Photographs by Damon Winter

Text by Michael Cooper
Feb. 2, 2018


When it comes to blood, Quentin Tarantino has nothing on the Metropolitan Opera. Stabbings, shootings, torture and beheadings are routine at the Met. But the bloodiest show of them all may be François Girard’s production of Wagner’s “Parsifal,” which returns on Feb. 5 and floods the theater’s vast stage with some 1,250 gallons of the stuff.

The stage blood — made from a recipe that includes tap water, glycerin, and red and blue dye, mixed to taste — is created in Brooklyn by a company called J&M Special Effects, which heats and trucks it to the Met in 250-gallon rectangular tanks before each performance.


Since opera singers do not care for frozen feet, the blood is kept warm in the tanks, which are swaddled in industrial-grade heating blankets until the last possible moment. At eight minutes before the curtain went up at a recent rehearsal, Terry Ganley, a stage manager, gave the cue.

“Fill ’er up,” she told a team of stagehands, many of whom wore rubber boots. The blood flowed.


The Met isn’t trying to create a slasher opera. “Parsifal” is Wagner’s metaphysical meditation on the knights of the Holy Grail, the goblet supposedly used at the Last Supper and which later caught Jesus’s blood on the cross. Their leader, Amfortas, suffers from a mysterious wound that will not heal. In Mr. Girard’s poetic 2013 production, blood is a central visual element.


“The overall staging didn’t glue until we started playing with blood, because that is ultimately the voltage of the piece,” said Mr. Girard, who has included a river of blood; a bleeding bed; and, here, in Act II, a shallow pool of blood that covers the stage. “There was a lot of resistance: You can imagine the nightmare. But they’ve mastered it now.”


The Met tries to keep the blood warm for the singers and dancers who must stand in it — for a typically Wagnerian hourlong act — by placing heating pads under the red vinyl that lines the pool onstage. But the blood begins cooling as soon as it pours out. Philip J. Volpe, the Met’s master electrician, monitors its temperature with an infrared thermometer.


Keeping things neat and safe with over 1,000 gallons of fake blood sloshing around is not easy. An overflow trough sits behind the pool. Rows of chairs with towels and sandals are placed for the performers coming off the bloody stage, and absorbent mats and brown paper are taped along the path to their dressing rooms. Members of the stage crew are posted beneath the stage to make sure no blood seeps into the Met’s underground storage areas, where sets for operas like “L’Elisir d’Amore” and “Pagliacci” are currently stored.


A unique kind of stage-prop dialysis is used to keep the blood hygienic. Following each performance, the tanks of blood are trucked back to J&M, which filters out any newly added particles of foam and dust. The blood is then purified with ultraviolet light to kill bacteria.

“We can’t use chlorine or anything like that because it would turn the water pink,” said David Feheley, the Met’s technical director. “Which is, you know, less dramatic.”


The blood creates striking tableaus — drenching the dress Evelyn Herlitzius wears as she sings the role of Kundry, a wild woman in the thrall of an evil sorcerer; and helping the audience visualize the spiritual quest taken by Parsifal (the tenor Klaus Florian Vogt). And it fits squarely into Mr. Girard’s conception of the opera.

“We’re talking about life, Christ, Amfortas’s wound, sexuality, all of those things,” he said. “Blood became the connector.”


When the rehearsal ended, stagehands used brooms to push the blood into a small well at the back of the pool, where sump pumps sent it coursing back into the tanks.

“Where is the AB negative?” joked Stephen A. Diaz, the master carpenter.

The dancers and choristers filed offstage dripping, their feet stained slightly red. The remedy for the stains, it turns out, is much simpler than the one for Amfortas’s wound, which requires the touch of a holy spear. Many of the performers have found that the red can be wiped away with Barbasol shaving cream.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/arts ... collection

jbuck919
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Re: Met Sea of Blood

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:21 pm

This strikes several, ahem, chords with me. First, I do not understand the insensitivity of someone who would drive a considerable percentage of the audience away and/or into literal sickness at the sight of blood. (Fortunately, I don't have that fear myself, for I have had to witness my own blood all too many times, but I sympathize with people who do have it.) Second, it calls into question the Met's standards for special effects. They can do anything they want, but often make the poorest choices. For example, the Todesverkündigung in Die Valküre is supposed to be a vision. So why does the current production go to such great lengths in other ways but simply have Brünnhilde walk on stage for that scene?

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

lennygoran
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Met Sea of Blood

Post by lennygoran » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:50 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:21 pm
This strikes several, ahem, chords with me. ... Second, it calls into question the Met's standards for special effects.
Yep! That's without even taking into account what it costs money wise. Regards, Len :(

barney
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Met Sea of Blood

Post by barney » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:53 am

Also strikes me as something as a cliche now. More than one production has taken Amfortas' wound as menstrual blood.
Ah, these directors are so clever...

Marlowe
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Re: Met Sea of Blood

Post by Marlowe » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:47 am

Another perspective on the Met Parsifal:

http://observer.com/2018/02/opera-revie ... -parsifal/

Cheers.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26333
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
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Re: Met Sea of Blood

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:31 pm

Marlowe wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:47 am
Another perspective on the Met Parsifal:

http://observer.com/2018/02/opera-revie ... -parsifal/

Cheers.
Thank you for your interesting contribution. I did have to turn off Ad Block to read that page, but it was worth it. Now why do we only have 20 posts from you?

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

barney
Posts: 2815
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Met Sea of Blood

Post by barney » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:31 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:31 pm
Marlowe wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:47 am
Another perspective on the Met Parsifal:

http://observer.com/2018/02/opera-revie ... -parsifal/

Cheers.
Thank you for your interesting contribution. I did have to turn off Ad Block to read that page, but it was worth it. Now why do we only have 20 posts from you?
Yes, thank you for posting that. I was interested in the Parsifal being barely stronger than a boy's voice, and that working in the role (as far as the reviewer was concerned). I greatly admire the conductor, whom I have seen in performance only three or four times.

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