Once upon a mattress
La Cieca has just heard that the “flying bed”effect in the Met’s new production of Romeo et Juliette malfunctioned last night, sending Natalie Dessay tumbling six feet onto a hard platform and leaving Ramon Vargas dangling. The bed is suspended from “invisible” wires and appears to float in a starry sky, a tableau that opens the fourth act of the production. Before the curtain rose, the soprano and tenor were hoisted into their midair position, and then one of the wires snapped or slipped loose. The bed then overturned and dumped the hapless singers into space. The audience was told only that there was a “technical problem” backstage. After a delay, the act began with the bed already in place on the lower platform. A production insider says, “No one is ever going to get in that bed again. I’m sure the effect will be scrapped immediately.” May La Cieca make a modest suggestion? Perhaps, in order to avoid future accidents of this sort, the Met should engage someone in senior management with practical knowledge of stagecraft — say, a former carpenter?