Mass exodus warning for the Met’s opening night

Mass exodus warning for the Met’s opening night


norman lebrecht

September 20, 2016

The opening production of Tristan and Isolde, conducted on Monday by Simon Rattle and sung by Nina Stemme and Stuart Skelton, has suffered an unfortunate clash with the first Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton TV debate.

Bloomberg reports: Julie Macklowe, founder of skincare-products maker vbeaute, is splitting her evening, starting with Wagner’s tragic love story and then leaving Lincoln Center “to catch the slugfest” before the final act. “There will probably be a mass exodus out of the opera then,” she said.

There could also be a similar walkout from the live simulcast crowd on Times Square.



  • Brian says:

    That’s exactly right. I predict a similar pattern across Lincoln Center Plaza, where Juilliard has Mirga G-T conducting its student orchestra that evening. Talk about bad timing.

  • Jon H says:

    I’m so glad the media will survive.

  • anne says:

    Didn’t they move the debates because of football? They should move them because of music!

    • John says:

      No debates were moved because of football. Actually two will conflict with football games, so you can put that one to bed.

  • Eric says:

    Doubtful that those in Times Square will depart….since they can watch the debate on another screen at Times Square. It actually may be the best place to see both.

  • Just a member of the audience says:

    1. Depending on the timing, you could skip out of the second act and return for the third. But if anybody wants to give me their tickets, I’ll oblige.

    2. The schedule was not changed because of football, although Trump complained about it.

    3. I’m sure people with tickets to music or theater performances all over the country will have decisions to make. Big deal.

  • Meal says:

    I understand that the debate is perceived as very important and that people in the U.S. are very keen to watch it on TV. However, why should I walk out of a _live_ performance to watch something on TV? Programming one’s PVR gives the opportunity to watch the debate later at home – you will miss nothing (in addition you will have the possibility to fast forward the boring, meaningless passages, if you like). Leaving a live performance prematurely is just rude behavior if planned in advance (if you don’t like the performance there might be good reasons to leave earlier …). They should give their tickets to people really interested.

    • Una says:

      Doesn’t anyone have recording facilities over there and so do both – Trump and Clinton for breakfast perhaps? What a fuss over nothing. Reality is they’ll get one or other as President, and they chose these two dreadful candidates to start with! And it’s been going on for months to the point of distraction. I know where I would be that night if I were given a choice … Tristan every time! That opera has lasted longer than any American President or British politician or Brexit will ever last.

  • V.Lind says:

    Just be thankful they will not be listening to it on their phones while still there!

    Sorry, but I prefer major events such as the debate live. If it were me, I would change my T&I tickets for another night.

    And sorry again, but I am relieved that Met audiences know how serious and important the election is, and with two candidates obviously distasteful to many Americans, there are major decisions to be made. Clearly the Orange Blob is not to be borne, but Madam C. has a lot of baggage and only a stellar performance is going to tip some of the waverers into her column — the turnout in this election could be distressingly low, so in a sense both candidates will be trying to get the vote out.

    Much as a Rattle T&I is an important artistic event, they can get a great part of it before going on to something rather more consequential. Tough for the singers and musicians, but a lot of them would probably prefer not to be working that night either.

    Very tough on Mirga and the kids.

  • Tim Walton says:

    Doesn’t say much for American’s Taste – from the sublime to the ridiculous!

  • Schlagzeuger says:

    Debate? What debate?

  • Donald Laub says:

    I have a ticket to Opening Night, and I will stay for the whole performance. DVRS are wonderful devices. Plus, I know who I am voting for, and it is extremely unlikely I will change my mind no matter what happens in the debate.

  • MarieTherese says:

    It’s beyond me why anyone would leave an evening of live, lovely music to watch soul-sucking torturing arguments. That’s why DVRs were created, and besides, you can fast-forward through the super annoying parts!

    • Nick says:

      Totally agree. And even without home recording, the debate will be replayed on television over and over and over ad nauseam. I am staggered that anyone would give up tickets for a Tristan for a verbal slugfest they can still see many times. As a result, this discussion has absolutely nothing to do with democracy in action or how serious the election is blah blah.

  • Eva says:

    Easy. See the opera, record the debate, and see it when you get home.

  • EDMUND JONES says:

    Will Hillary sing the Liebestod over Donald at the end?

  • Gerald Martin says:

    This is a manufactured news story:

    “Ticket sales have been strong and we haven’t seen any significant effect from the debate being scheduled against our opening.”

  • Edgar says:

    Trump and Clinton should be put onstage at the MET, together with Tristan und Isolde. Would be interesting to watch who isn’t dead at the end of the evening…;-)