Insert Wotan's Spear and Rotate: AMC Movies Screws DIE WALKURE

Imagine an umlaut over the U. :wink: And it’s a long post but hey, it was a five-and-a-half-hour broadcast. Or was supposed to be.

I paid nineteen good American dollars to you, AMC Cinemas Bay Plaza in beautiful downtown Co-op City, to see the Met Live in HD RE-broadcast of DER WALKURE with Deborah Voigt, Bryn Terfel, and a massive 45-ton set called simply “The Machine”. The original live showing on May 14 was sold out everywhere so I waited for the usual RE-broadcast. Since it wouldn’t let out til midnight I wanted someplace I could drive to and stayed in da Bronx; I did see that most of the theaters in Manhattan were sold out again.

The show started 45 minutes late, as mentioned in the article I linked to. OK, this wasn’t AMC’s fault, although why the RE-broadcast didn’t cut out that part I have no idea, more chance to sell subs and pimp the new season I guess. Once it started it was beautiful; The Machine stopped pouting and started working, I got to see Fricka’s throne attached to it, and its hydraulics and computers tracking it. Placido Domingo chatted up some Valkyries, and Joyce DiDonato fluttered around talking to the leads. The show was magnificent, with fine acting that really came across in close-up.

The first problem was that the subtitles were placed very low on the screen and the white letters were cut off about 1/3 of the way from the bottom. During one of the long, long intermissions I went out to the Customer Service desk and of course it was abandoned; concessions and security guys didn’t know nothin’, and the manager was nowhere to be found, apparently. I shrugged and went back in.

But the real problem happened at 12:19 a.m. when, as Brunnhilde and Wotan went through their touching farewell scene, before he puts her to sleep to be woken up by (spoiler alert!) her own nephew, the screen froze and then flashed to a Direct TV screen much like this one, only with a few more doohickeys for the theater owners. Bryn and Deborah remained frozen in the corner while the giant screen blithely announced that the recording had ended. Just like that.


Needless to say, this broke the mood like hitting a brick wall breaks an egg.

There weren’t that many people in the theater by then, some had left after enjoying the Ride of the Valkyries and besides, Co-op City is full of old Jewish retirees who are probably none too fond of Wagner. But we were vocal. Somebody ran out and got a security guard who went up to the projectionist, who obviously wasn’t watching the goddamn film because the graphic was on the screen for like six minutes. I was sending a firmly worded tweet the Met using my mobile WiFi spot as elevator music came from the screen, which had reverted to a cheery Direct TV general graphic.

So, suddenly “Fly me to the Moon” stops playing and the screen springs back to life. We watch as the “projectionist” brings up a screen with a whole list of operas and chooses one–that is the shorter version of 6:19 dated 5/14, not the one lasting 6:34 dated June 1. And then s/he proceeds to FAST FORWARD THROUGH THE FIRST FIVE HOURS OF THE OPERA. Including intermissions and ads, of course. It was the trippiest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen.

Since the “projectionist” hadn’t been watching the opera, s/he stopped at the beginning of the lovely but loooong final Wotan/Brunnhilde scene it had stopped at. We re-watched about fifteen minutes we had just seen, and then guess what happened AGAIN at the exact same place.


This time we all booed, and stormed out to confront a very polite security guard who went and fetched the manager. Who turned out to be a pretty overwhelmed girl who looked to be about 23. All she could do was hand out free passes; she couldn’t refund the money because it was 1:00 in the morning and the office “with the money in it” was closed up. She assured us that they’d tried both versions (5/14 and 6/1) that Direct TV had sent them and they BOTH cut off in the exact same place.

I don’t think anyone there knew what the fuck to do. I have to wonder if the sold-out theaters in Chelsea and Times Square, never mind the ones around the country, had the same problem with the Direct TV feed. If so, I won’t be the only person sending a Strongly Worded Letter to the Met.

But still, fuck you, AMC Bay Plaza. I knew you’d have one poor girl working at the box office despite the early evening lines, and I always know that the Pimple-faced Teens at the concession stand don’t know how to input complicated things like “large popcorn” into your fancy new registers. I expect that. But I do NOT expect a Fathom Event, something that costs more than an IMAX movie in midtown, to just stop at the emotional high point with nothing to be done about it.

I gotta tell Roger Ebert about this. He’s already on a crusade against ill-trained “projectionists” who don’t move the right lenses into place on 3-D projectors, making 3-D movies too dark.

Now I’ll never know how DER WALKURE ends, either! :frowning: He changes his mind and lets her go off with her sisters, right? :confused:

Off topic…(sorry, I can’t contain my curiosity). Did you get your username from an ancient, circa 1970s, naughty cartoon with a sexy girl cat named Mahitabel?

Archy and Mehitabel? The Seventies!? Oh, what the hell, oh, what the hell.

Somebody’s using dial-up.

He becomes a Texas Ranger.

Damn, which thread do I respond to? If I post in all three will RP report that too?

For those unfortunates who may be a bit less cultured, here’s a link to the opera Mehitabel was watching.

Kill da wabbit! Kill da wabbit!

I don’t honestly remember (it WAS the 70s after all :D). I know some of “my” gang managed to catch a movie, must have been mid-70s, and the main characters were sexy smart alecky cats. I’ll shut up now and leave the thread to cultured discussion of actual and acceptable entertainment. :slight_smile:

People actually go to Fathom events?

I thought those ads were all just filler for when they couldn’t book a local real estate agent or Thai restaurant.

No. Wotan puts her to sleep there on the mountain and encircles her in magic fire to protect her. Then he goes off saying that anyone who interferes should Fear His Spear.

What happens next is told in the next two operas in the Ring cycle, Siegfriend and Gotterdamerung

You’re thinking of Shinbone Alley - a film of the Broadway adaptation of poems of archie and mehitabel.

archy and mehitabel were characters created by jounalist, Don Marquis in 1916. archy, a cockroach, would (ostensibly) type poems on Marquis’ typewriter after everyone went home for the night. There’s no capitalization because archy couldn’t hit the shift key and the letter at the same time. mehitabel was archy’s friend and cat who knew her way around town. It’s good stuff - well worth a read.

Fun fact: Eartha Kitt played mehitabel in the Broadway version. Carol Channing voiced her in the movies. The theatergoers definitely got the better deal. toujours gai.

Yes, I got my name from characters created in 1916 by a journalist who died in 1937, working for a paper which stopped publishing decades ago. I didn’t think it was that obscure.

For some reason a chunk of my OP got swallowed; I meant to say that the film proceeded nicely until 6:19, when it suddenly stopped during the farewell scene and displayed the usual Direct TV screen like you’d see at home. The 45-ton set is called The Machine.

Weird, weird ending to the night. I have to check a couple of opera boards and see if it happened in other theaters.

I saw this production at the Met a few weeks ago. Bryn Terfel was as you’d expect, but otherwise, the production was 45 tons of WTF. Even if the damn thing had worked, you still might have been posting about it in the pit.

Wit’ his spear and Magic Helllllllllll-met!

Spear and Magic Helmet?!

The close-ups of the fabulous (and in Siegmund/Jonas Kauffmann’s case, hunky) actors overcame the machine’s antics for me, but I can imagine it might get pretty dull from my usual sub seat in the Family Circle. It was fun watching the stagehands play with it backstage, though, during intermission.

As for Fathom events, well, maybe I’ll just go to one of the many OTHER companies that show the Met in HD. Oh, damn, it’s just them. It was either nineteen bucks in the theater with more space and sodas and close-ups or thirty-five bucks sitting miles from the actual stage tucked under the rafters.

Every time I go around saying that, I get in trouble with HR.

Magic Helmet?

Yeeesss, and I’ll give you a SAAAM-ple!

I wish I could link to the best opera singer/descriptor ever. Her synopsis of the Ring Cycle is both over the top hysterical, deadpan, and deadly accurate. She’s British, I believe, but may have a put-on Thurston Howell accent (it’s been years since I heard her). Or maybe I’m thinking of Victor Borge (or maybe he just assimilated her).

A reference to the tarnhelm.

Anna Russell.

Although I’m enough of a pedant to point out that she does get parts of the plot wrong.

What’s that?