I got plenty of music
That is to say, this afternoon.
On arriving in Amsterdam, I discovered from a leaflet at the hotel that a production Porgy and Bess is in town. It’s on all week, but I have more time today than I will have later, so I went today. For the matinee, ‘cos even if the performers are up to it, an auditorium is quite likely to be stuffy for its second audience in a day.
This was a full production as befits a world-class centre of culture. An impressive cast and a full orchestra were complemented by a big stage (of which they made full use in a very lively production) and a big and attractive theatre (half-empty). The price tag was also big: though there were cheaper prices up in the gods, almost all the seats were 76 Euro.
In general, the show was excellent: the production, the singing, the conviction, etc. Trivial blemishes one can easily overlook: the chorus stumbling briefly near the start of Leavin’ for the Promise’ Lan’, or Porgy using his legs too obviously to help with crawling around.
But there was one major fault I can’t overlook, and which means, alas, I can’t recommend the show to others who haven’t seen it. They miked and amplified it! Right from the start, the sound quality of the orchestra was not good, and coming largely from the wrong place. The singers were often seriously out of balance and way too loud. Porgy and Bess is far too good a piece to drag down to the level of a Broadway musical, but someone damn well tried! It’s not as if they had a bunch of non-singers who needed the electronic crutch to make themselves heard.
If I want to hear Porgy and Bess coming through a sound system, I can buy a record or a video a whole lot cheaper, and the chances are the sound engineer did a better job. Bah, Humbug.