The whole subject of how opera productions should look is much controverted these days, especially in online discussion. Much is made of the idea that Broadway and its practitioners are influencing, for conspicuous example, the Met. Some find this a blessing and some a bane. But we should remember that Broadway shows have changed at least as much as opera productions have. Here is a set of video views of Noël Coward’s 1929 Bittersweet, which was presented in that year both in the West End and on Broadway. It should help clear our minds of any idea that lavish, hyper-realistic productions began with one Signor Zeffirelli.

Tip of the hat to Robert Francks

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