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Ahem, Mr. Wakin, Death awaits a retraction….

In his 5/23 article for the NY Times, Daniel Wakin asked ,”A contemporary surrealist opera at the NY Philharmonic? About the end of the world? On Memorial Day weekend? What are they thinking over there at Avery Fisher Hall?” He then went on to report that “2/3 of the Philharmonic’s regular concert goers were having none of it… subscription sales averaged about 33 percent, the Philharmonic acknowledged…”

When I went to the Philharmonic website last night, I was greeted with message that the entire run is SOLD OUT!

Apparently, the NY Philharmonic was thinking that there might be other audience members interested in the first NY production of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre. As Mr. Gilbert says in the Times article,”“It’s about developing and expanding the audience.”

True, Mr. Wakin also wrote about NYPO’s marketing strategies for the show: the website, the videos with “Death and Alan,” and the little eye that’s become the NYPO’s email signature this week. But that was much later in the article, well “below the fold,” well after a snarky set-up.

It would be nice if the Times ate a bit of crow and published a follow up piece, one that reported that Mr. Gilbert’s “risky gambit” paid off. One hopes the information about Le Grand Macabre being a sold out run won’t be buried as an aside in their review of the event.  Of course, that’s just one subscriber’s opinion … what do our Sequenza 21 readers think?

Le Grand Macabre premieres tonight at Avery Fisher Hall, with subsequent performances Friday and Saturday. The NY Philharmonic’s website noted that, while the event is sold out, those who want tickets should check back to see if any are returned for resale.


Comment from Armando Bayolo
Time: May 27, 2010, 9:23 pm

I think that what we have here is a failure to communicate. Or, rather (to be less snarky), the old media meeting the new head on and not knowing exactly what to do with this new paradigm. While not a New Yorker, I have been watching Maestro Gilbert’s moves at the NY Phil with interest precisely because they embrace new media and, more importantly, seek to expand, grow and develop the philharmonic’s audience (and with a heavier than usual amount of new music to boot. It’s almost like Gilbert has learned a lesson from Essa Pekka Salonen!). I wouldn’t hold your breath on that retraction/correction, Christian, just be glad that Gilbert and the NY Phil are having the last laugh.

Comment from smooke
Time: May 28, 2010, 5:02 pm

Fortunately the review makes prominent mention of the “sold out” signs and declares Gilbert’s experiment a success. It even talks about how the audience trended younger than the usual NYPhil audience and that they seemed to be having fun. That’s as close as we’ll come to a retraction/correction.

Comment from Christian
Time: May 29, 2010, 1:38 pm

Good enough for me! Nice review by Anthony Tommasini: