June 21, 2020 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Shostakovich's first opera is a surrealist piece about a man who wakes up one day to discover his nose is missing. It features tap dancing noses.
posted by ChuraChura (21 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
You said this so plainly
As plain as the nose on my face
And yet somehow I was still not prepared for what I just saw
posted by Kitchen Witch at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

fucking Shostakovich.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:07 PM on June 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

Metafilter: it features tap-dancing noses.
posted by Umami Dearest at 12:07 PM on June 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

It’s based on the story “The Nose” by Gogol.
posted by njohnson23 at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2020 [13 favorites]

You know, you reach an age where you think you've seen everything. And then this.
posted by wittgenstein at 12:44 PM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I.... um.....

I mean... like....



posted by hippybear at 12:45 PM on June 21, 2020

"And in a vision Iphigenia saw her brother Orestes, who was being chased by the Amenities; and he cried out in anguish: 'Oh ye gods, who knows what it is to be running? Only he who is running knows'."
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:50 PM on June 21, 2020 [11 favorites]

I saw this at the Met last time it was produced, maybe three years ago? Loathed it, and was glad I had to be alternately bored and irritated for only 90 minutes and not more. It sounds like it could be clever. It isn’t. (I'm generally a fan of 20th-century and later repertoire, btw; my favorite thing I’ve ever seen at the Met in 40 years of opera-going is Doctor Atomic by John Adams. So this doesn’t come from a “modern stuff is all crap” place.)

While I’m cranking, I’ll also note that I’ve seen maybe half a dozen William Kentridge productions by now, and I do not get all the acclaim at all.
posted by holborne at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Now that's what I call sinus rhythm!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:54 PM on June 21, 2020 [8 favorites]

Old fashioned rhinovirus: running nose
Novel rhinovirus: tapping nose
posted by otherchaz at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2020 [7 favorites]

I suppose a little kid dressed as a handkerchief chasing after the noses and then going back and forth under them as they danced in place would have been too distracting.
posted by jamjam at 1:37 PM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Another playful literary approach to the nose:

"I define a nose as follows—intreating only beforehand, and beseeching my readers, both male and female, of what age, complexion, and condition soever, for the love of God and their own souls, to guard against the temptations and suggestions of the devil, and suffer him by no art or wile to put any other ideas into their minds, than what I put into my definition—For by the word Nose, throughout all this long chapter of noses, and in every other part of my work, where the word Nose occurs—I declare, by that word I mean a nose, and nothing more, or less.

...Now don’t let Satan, my dear girl, in this chapter, take advantage of any one spot of rising ground to get astride of your imagination, if you can any ways help it; or if he is so nimble as to slip on—let me beg of you, like an unback’d filly, to frisk it, to squirt it, to jump it, to rear it, to bound it—and to kick it, with long kicks and short kicks, till like Tickletoby’s mare, you break a strap or a crupper, and throw his worship into the dirt.—You need not kill him.—"

Lawrence Sterne, Tristram Shandy
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:01 PM on June 21, 2020 [5 favorites]

tapping nose

Say no more. *winks*
posted by zamboni at 2:11 PM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Perhaps an hommage to this...
posted by jim in austin at 2:13 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

How does he smell?
posted by Segundus at 4:31 PM on June 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Does this come before or after the "got your nose" dad game/joke?
posted by eviemath at 4:44 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I saw this at Covent Garden-- lucked into a morning dress rehearsal ticket, so my mind had to deal with tap dancing noses before lunch. I'm not sure whether I've recovered.

The production was such fun! I've been waiting to see this opera staged ever since I read a synopsis and went "wait, what?" and then listened to a CD in the library and wondered how the fuck you'd put this onstage. I liked the production because it joyfully embraced the surreal silliness while highlighting the moments of surprising beauty like the funeral chorus. They even had a decent singer for the impossibly high tenor role of the Police Inspector.

It's certainly a damn sight more fun than Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk, which has no tap dancing body parts at all.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:40 PM on June 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I suppose The Nose is fine, but in the crowded genre of 20th century opera compositions about noses, in my estimation it's only second-best. First place goes to Michael Nyman's Nose-List Song from his incomplete-but-I-live-in-hope Tristram Shandy opera.

My nose shall never be touched
whilst heaven give me strength

Truly, a unifying cry.
posted by ZaphodB at 6:25 PM on June 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have sooo many questions! Like, is the rhythm of this dance written out by Shoskakovich? Can you freely choreograph whatever when it's performed?
posted by frecklefaerie at 5:54 AM on June 22, 2020

I've been (im)patiently waiting for the Met Opera to show their 2010 production of The Nose as part of their free streams. I recall reading the short story many years ago, and finding it amusing, plus the production they did looks hilarious and engaging. Plus, I do have a bit of a thing for modern and contemporary opera.
posted by SansPoint at 7:56 AM on June 22, 2020

Update: The Metropolitan Opera will be streaming a performance of The Nose on July 1st at 7:30 PM Eastern!
posted by SansPoint at 12:57 PM on June 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

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