Met Free Streaming – Week 3

We begin this week with one of the most gripping operas in the entire repertoire. Completed in 1956, it is a fictionalized version of the true story of the Martyrs of Compiègne who were guillotined for refusing to renounce their calling in 1794 during the closing days of the Reign of Terror. Isabel Leonard stars as the fearful young noblewoman, Blanche de la Force who joins the Carmelites to escape the horrors of the French Revolution and instead finds herself engulfed by them.

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Movies for Shut-ins Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell was a real-life bona fide hero. While working as a security guard he discovers a pipe bomb left in a knapsack larded with explosives and very hard masonry nails under a bench at the 1968 Atlanta Olympics. Calling in the cops and bringing in a U.S. Air Force bomb squad makes him a hero by even the most ordinary of measures. Only one or two people die in the subsequent explosion, depending on whose numbers you believe. But many more are injured, people whose lives might be lost but for Jewell’s presence of mind. Richard Jewell clears the periphery near the bomb including a tower housing journalists and camera crew despite the protests of the occupants.

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Movies for Shut-ins Paddy Chayefsky’s Network

Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is a veteran news anchor on the evening news for UBS, the Union Broadcasting System, rated a pathetic fourth of four networks. His ratings have gone into the dumper along with UBS’s profit. He is fired for committing TV’s cardinal sin, low ratings. The news is given to him by the head of network news and longtime friend Max Schumacher (William Holden). Both are the face of TV from a prior day. Both are fossils. Beale snaps on that evening’s news broadcast. He announces on his show that next Tuesday he will commit suicide on live television. He is fired effective immediately. He pleads for one more show for old times’ sake so he can retire with dignity. His request is granted, but he uses his last hurrah to make things worse.

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Backstage Review: ‘The Imaginary Invalid’ By Molière at Reno Little Theater

Molière’s audience was the French aristocracy and the king himself, Louis XIV, The Sun King. Perhaps a more accurate translation of the title would be The Hypochondriac. This would work better for Molière as he unmercifully ridicules the practice of medicine and the fools who pay for it.

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The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD Series – Wagner’s THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, March 14 at 9:55 am

Richard Wagner’s first great operatic masterpiece, Der Fliegende Holländer, is the Met’s HD offering for March. Director François Girard has attempted to resolve some of the work’s more anachronistic aspects by telling the story from the point of view of its heroine, Senta. Be that as it may, the story of a young woman who is so obsessed with a mysterious old portrait that she eventually destroys herself in order to become a part of its haunted world will probably remain a bit of a stretch for many modern opera goers. Spectacular, violently stormy video projections – especially during the (long!) overture – contribute some modernizing magic as well, but in the end this particular Met production gives us a sadly static, darkly depressing reading of some of Wagner’s most glorious music.

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Backstage Review: ‘Noises Off’ at At Good Luck Macbeth

To understand Noises Off it helps to know Murphy’s Law and O’Toole’s Commentary on Murphy’s Law aka O’Toole’s Corollary. Murphy’s Law says if anything can go wrong, it will. O’Toole’s Corollary says Murphy was an optimist. And if the purpose of theater is to hold a mirror up to ourselves so we can see clearly who and what we are then Noises Off tells us we are all doomed.

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