Tonight at dinner we discussed snarky reviews, which brought back memories.
I was raised in New York City, which was usually fantastic, at least when it wasn’t terrifying. One of the great things about it was the music. I saw Lou Reed at the Bottom Line in 1976 or so. And a few years later I went to the Met opening of Akhnaten, an opera by Phillip Glass.
My mom hated (and I think still hates) Glass, and couldn’t understand why I would go. The next day she clipped the New York Times review and mailed it to me. (That’s how we did things back then, kids.) Here is the first paragraph:
”AKHNATEN,” the Philip Glass work that the New York City Opera presented Sunday night in its New York premiere, is not a work whose music asks to be listened to seriously. Despite the publicity that Mr. Glass’s works have received, his operas to date add up to little more than pageants with backgrounds of continually repeated, barely varied sound patterns. They stand to music as the sentence ”See Spot run” stands to literature. As a pageant, then, ”Akhnaten” must depend largely on the imagination of its production. By all reports, it benefited from brilliant staging earlier this year in its world premiere in Stuttgart, West Germany, and enjoyed a triumph there.
Ooof! Share your favorite mean-spirited reviews below.