Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MTV Rocks the Metropolitan Opera House

Madonna as Norma from Bellini's opera 'Norma'
Janet Jackson as Cleopatra from Handel's opera 'Giulio Cesare'
The opera greats from all over the world have played the Metropolitan Opera House. But how about Madonna, Eminem, Ozzy Osbourne or Janet Jackson? By the appearance of these posters at Lincoln Center in 1999 one would have guessed otherwise.

Walking around Lincoln Center today and seeing the opera house I remembered what was probably one of the most clever advertising campaigns: music video stars photographed and placed in costumes and settings of famous operas to advertise the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards which would be presented at the Met Opera House. It seemed like sacrilege back then that the world of rock and pop would invade the domain of grand opera and wondered what special insurance provisions were required to be sure that the venue was still in one piece by the end of the awards ceremony. These are some of the photos used in magazine ads and for the posters displayed at Lincoln Center. Good fun just to see these performers photographed out of their element.

Britney Spears as Violetta Valery from Verdi's opera 'La Traviata'
Chris Rock (the awards show host) as Rigoletto from Verdi's opera 'Rigoletto'
Eminem as Siegried from Wagner's opera 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'
Ozzy Osbourne as Pagliacci from Leoncavallo's opera 'Pagliacci'
David Bowie as Mephistopheles from Gounod's opera 'Faust'
The photos as they appeared in a Billboard magazine ad spread.


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