16 May 2007

This is the view from the Met's family circle standing room. Up here, the acoustics are unparalleled. (It's so good, Leontyne's pianissimos have been reported to still be sliding around the rounded corners of the space.) The ceiling undulates gently like organic membranes (see picture above), reflecting every wave of sound emanating from the stage in full to my ears. The African rainforest wood surrounding the side boxes resonates on many frequencies with the voice so naturally to surround me in its complexity. The orchestra sound, tamed at this distance, comes to me as a blended liquid, as the voice, still complete, arches directly, creating a comfortable contrast. The result is a marvelous, full sound that may be better than the sonic shrapnel hitting the seats in the orchestra level. Even a small voice can be heard, and it's a remarkable thing. If you think Baroque does not belong in the cavernous Met auditorium, try the family circle standing room next time, and you'll realize just how BS that conventional wisdom is.