Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Found Hiding Under a Stone on a Distant Beach- Good Journalism

While trawling through the dismal collection of derivative waffle, breathless excitement, self-important posturing, profound ignorance, schoolgirlish gossiping, opinionated dogma and general crassness and tedium which our media offer us these days instead of news (and probably always did) I came across this, from the Guardian. It happens to be about a subject I am interested in, which is why I read it, but I was captivated to find an article written by a person of intelligence, who understood the subject of his text and had taken the trouble to find out, analyze, contrast, put in context and structure the relevant background and opinions on the story, who was telling a real, if rather specialized, story, for those who might want to know, and not retailing an anecdote in the hope of grabbing someone's attention, who places the facts at the centre of the story, and quotes the opinions that matter, rather than smearing his own all over the thing. You actually learn something from reading it.

It is not the Platonic form of newspaper articles, let's not get carried away, but it is so much better than anything else I read yesterday that I tip my spines to Ed Pilkington for having given me genuine pleasure and done his job as it should be done.

The article, for those who haven't clicked the link, is about a new production of Tosca at the Met, by Luc Bondy, to take the place of Zefferelli's, which they've been doing for 20 years. This is a bit like getting Vivienne Westwood to do out the Long Room at Lord's, and at the premiere on Monday the audience expressed its displeasure with some zest. Here's the NYT on the same subject.

For what it's worth, I've only seen the Zefferelli on TV, and the sets seemed a bit overdone, though the interpretation of the libretto is very satisfying (I mean it feels right). I don't like the sound of what Bondy has done at all, but it might need to settle down, stop trying to be clever, and get to know its audience.

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