Opera News columnist takes music critics (myself included) to task over Leonard Slatkin fiasco at the Met
For me, one of the joys of blogging has been the ability to muse out loud, to have a conversation (or, usually, a monologue -- something I wish will change over time) about musical points of interest.
Print, on the other hand, still feels more serious, more permanent -- a statement rather than a passing thought.
So I'm dismayed to see that, in its June issue, Opera News, one of the most respected specialty publications in its field, has printed a blog-like ramble by Brian Kellow in which he quotes my blog to make a point about whether blogs should enter into serious conversations about live performance.
Kellow's main point is to take The New York Times' chief music critic, Anthony Tommasini, to task over his handling of Leonard Slatkin's ill-fated attempt to conduct the Metropolitan Opera's recent production of La Traviata.
The writer believes that Tommasini -- one of the most even-handed, hard-working critics in the business -- was careless and unfair in the treatment of the affair. He wants the critic to point out, item by item, where Slatkin went wrong in the opening performance. But not even the Times has print space for that sort of detail -- and no arts editor for a mainstream newspaper would ever let that kind of review pass, as it would be judged too dull to read. As critics for a general-interest publication, we generally explain our overall impression, then leave the details up to individual conversations with people who feel strongly about that particular topic or event.
I'm not saying that Kellow doesn't make a valid point, but he also has to recognize the limitations of time and space and style in the mainstream press. And if he doesn't believe in including blogs in the consideration of current events, he shouldn't be reading blogs to make his point. Should he?