Monday, February 02, 2009
I just heard the sad news that Tony Amato of the Amato Opera is retiring. The New York Times has has a lovely Addio to Tony Amato that really captures the spirit of the place.
I got the chance to play in the Amato Opera pit once. I subbed for my friend Wendy Stern who told me that I just had to have the experience of playing there. The opera was Don Giovanni (my first exposure to that opera), and the ensemble, which sat under the teeny-tiny stage, was made of flute (that would be me in my previous life), clarinet, oboe, and piano. We used the Metropolitan Opera cuts, and by the end of the performance, when Don G. landed about six inches from me while a fire extinguisher-made fog rained down on my head, I was laughing so hard that I could hardly play. I loved every second.
Tony Amato, I learned, was the brother of Sal Amato, who was the teacher of my friend and teacher Keith Underwood. He was man of legend and mystery to me, and I felt like part of that legend having played for his brother's opera company. What a family, eh?
Here's a link to PDF file where Keith Underwood describes Sal Amato and his very "outside of the box" (Keith was thinking outside of the box before anyone even though of coining the term) concept of flute technique.