A Chagall Curtain Wants a New Residence With a Tall Ceiling
Chagall had created creative settings for ballets within the Forties however didn’t enterprise into opera till Sir Rudolf Bing, the director of the Met, persuaded him to work on a brand new manufacturing of Mozart’s final opera, a fantasy a couple of prince assigned to rescue the kidnapped daughter of the Queen of the Night time.
Bing, who was pleasant with Chagall, had tried to get him to design a manufacturing for a ballet within the Fifties. Chagall mentioned no to that undertaking and to Verdi’s “Nabucco,” which was scheduled for the 1960 season. However he couldn’t say no to “The Magic Flute.” It was a favourite. “There’s nothing on earth that approaches these two perfections, ‘The Magic Flute’ and the Bible,” he as soon as declared.
Chagall, then in his 70s, had simply unveiled a brand new painted ceiling on the Paris Opera, really a set of panels that had been positioned over the unique round portray by Jules Eugène Lenepveu. Chagall created a swirl of figures and symbols that paid tribute to Bizet’s “Carmen,” Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov,” amongst others — and “The Magic Flute.”
After which he plunged into the brand new Met manufacturing. His granddaughter Bella Meyer described the curtain as “a complete celebration” of the composer. “It was a unprecedented journey for him to have the ability to go into the world of Mozart and to have the ability to convey it onto the stage,” she mentioned in an interview.
“The Magic Flute” was deliberate for the Met’s first season at Lincoln Middle. Chagall “drew and painted sketches from morning to nighttime,” Bing wrote in his memoir, “A Knight on the Opera” (1981), and met with Günther Rennert, the manufacturing’s director.
Not everybody was enthusiastic in regards to the final result. John Canaday, Gadget Clock’s artwork critic on the time, mentioned that Chagall “appears to have considered the task just a little an excessive amount of as a one-man present,” whereas Harold C. Schonberg, The Instances’s chief music critic, complained that the opening-night viewers was not listening to the arias however “busy attempting to depend the variety of figures within the backdrop.”
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