Deviating From The Norm

Exterminating Angel poster in front of the Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan opera is about seven stories tall. The chandeliers are hoisted to the ceiling as the opera begins. And for The Exterminating Angel they were raised and lowered twice so the opening scene could play out two times like it does in Luis Buñuel’s movie. The theatrical production only deepened the surreal undertones. The cameras were rolling too as this Saturday afternoon production was being broadcast live in movie theaters across the country.

The lavish setting heightened the effectiveness of the minimal production. A large sculptural arch served as the abstract barrier that the guests could not penetrate. It spun slowly while the production unfolded and was dramatically lit in each scene.

The host of the bourgeois dinner party sings, “I’m delighted to see the spirit of improvisation” when it becomes clear his guests are not going to leave. And one of his guests sings “I adore anything that deviates from the norm.” The operatic voices only made the words from the film more absurd. I think Buñuel would have loved this over the top interpretation.

2 Responses to “Deviating From The Norm”

  1. Alice Says:

    Exterminating Angel on HD in our small 19th century opera house… we looked, without luck, for you in the audience. In our world, the opera was followed with a dinner party hosted by a friend who was also at the HD Opera. That heightened the surreal aspect of it all as we waved across the movie house to our friend and greeted each other tentatively at the intermission. All of us felt a little uneasy about the dinner that was going to follow. We stayed late but did manage to leave, eventually. That Julio was the butler in the opera made for some hilarious moments at our actual dinner party.

  2. Paul Says:

    Your dinner party sounds like the perfect accompaniment to the opera. So happy you got to experience Luis Bunuel with music.

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