Daily Archives: October 7, 2009

Directors Sher and Chéreau talk talk about what they know

Bartlett Sher rehearses at the Met in 2006.

Bartlett Sher rehearses at the Met in 2006.

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has enlisted some of the world’s greatest directors to shake up Met productions and make them more theatrical.

Patrice Chéreau

Patrice Chéreau

Two of them,  Bartlett Sher (director of the hit revival of South Pacific) and Patrice Chéreau, will join Gelb for a conversation on opera, theater, and the art of directing at the New York Public Library tomorrow evening. Both directors have new productions on the schedule at the Met this season. The talk is called Cognitive Theater.

The talk starts at 7 pm in the South Court Auditorium at the New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. Tickets $25, available online.

Discuss: Twitter at the opera?


Nashville Opera is encouraging audience members to use Twitter to comment on its performances of Tosca tomorrow and Saturday, and promises to project the Tweets in the lobby of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall during the show’s two intermissions. (Click here for a full report.)

“Social networking has become an integral part of Nashville Opera’s marketing efforts,” says Carol Penterman, the company’s executive director. “The use of Twitter and Facebook has been the ticket sales catalyst for this production, and we see this unique program of projecting ‘tweets’ in the lobby as a natural extension of our networking strategy.”

The marketing strategy makes sense. Whether you think facebook and Twitter are useful tools or huge time-wasters, there’s no denying their popularity and impact on our culture. Social networks help build buzz about shows, boost sales and clue people in on things the might not have even noticed in the arts pages of the local paper or in other old media.

But it seems to me that this is another example of an arts presenter encouraging its audience to not pay attention to the very thing they’ve come to see. The only way there will be Tweets to project at the intermissions would be if patrons are Twittering during the performance.

Does that make sense? Won’t it be a distraction? I’m a big fan of Twitter and facebook. But I find it terribly distracting to sit in a darkened theater and see audience members’ faces glowing with the reflection of their cell phone and BlackBerry screens as they text or Tweet or send facebook messages. And the clicking of the tiny keys adds another dimension to the distraction.

What do you think about this development? Please weigh in!