Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, Season 3, Episode 1 „La Fiamma“
Just when you thought it was safe to watch TV again a new series of „Mozart in the Jungle“ arrives, our favorite show that apparently exists in a parallel dimension to our dimension, a dimension where classical music is incredibly popular, where the stars look good without photoshop and where the audience screams with joy every time a conductor enters a stage.
Season 3 is again loaded with the little inconsistencies and inaccuracies that we have come to love, as screenwriters try desperately to understand the world of classical music and very often get it…completely wrong!
Still, I love the show, and nitpicking these details is a lot of fun, as long as we don’t confuse „Mozart in the Jungle“ with any kind of reality. Here we go again:
Season 3 can be watched here:
1) Ok, they are telling us that if a famous conductor arrives in Venice he is not simply picked up at the airport by somebody but has to hire an apparently conveniently available water-bicycle (!) to paddle to his destination himself? And also (knowing Venice quite a bit): it is perfectly possible to walk to that particular destination at the Canale Grande, from both the bus/taxi or the train station, which are very close. And where are Rodrigo’s bags?
2) And now they are telling us, that he brought the water bike with him from New York???
3) 2:10 Impresario Beppi actually says „don’t fuck together“ („non scopate“) before using the more polite „non fornicate“. Amazon says the show is watchable from the age of 6 years by the way.
4) It is very unusual for a conductor to actually visit an artist in a foreign country to personally ask her to work with him. Usually the maestros are much to busy for that – they would have the orchestra director call her agent and clear the details. Later it transpires that a concert at „La Fenice“ has been booked without knowing the program (so it is impossible to advertise) or if the diva will actually sing at all! Impresario Beppi seems to be completely mad or incompetent or both!
5) 3:20 and even the biggest opera divas would not leisurely listen to 14 year old recordings of themselves (with a cold! why was it issued as a record?), except if a reissue was in the works and they had to check the recording quality. But then the diva would actually sit next to a laptop (not a turntable) and make notes instead of mysteriously lingering in the next room to make a theatrical entrance.
6) Rodrigo got his Italian wrong – the „tessitura“ is not to be confused with the „timbre“ of a voice but in fact describes the optimal voice register. So he literally says „you have a beautiful voice range, because you had a cold“, which frankly doesn’t make sense, as a cold would certainly reduce voice range.
7) 6:20 It’s getting weirder and weirder – she has already been hired, and he has to personally meet her to hear if she actually will perform or not? Wel, I guess a lot of men would travel very far to tie Monica Bellucci’s kitchen apron.
8) 8:20 Everybody is laughing and seems to have a good time, but actually Hailey’s entrance at the rehearsal would actually be considered extremely obnoxious and annoying, even if she parodies somebody else. How about saying „hello“ or „good morning“ first?
9) 9:40 No cellist would EVER say to an oboist „I’m just yanking your woodwind“. No, really – just in the movies…And also: Hailey’s answer that Andrew messes up the tempo in „that Vivaldi piece“ instead of a particular spot in the piece is really too vague and almost meaningless, Andrew is right making fun of it!
10) 10:20 Here you can listen to how the Fauré Elegy REALLY starts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNiU_7VRAMA. There is no oboe note at the beginning! They just smuggled that in!
11) Young Mozart has an accent that is all over the place (like his previous incarnations). Is this supposed to be German spoken with an American accent?
12) „Fenice, tonight“ is not really a very meaningful appointment. When is „tonight“? No wonder the old lady is grumpy when she meets Rodrigo in the street, she might have waited for ages!
13) As „la Fenice“ has actually burned down completely several times in its history, leading somebody into the theatre by the light of candles might not be such a brilliant idea…
14) 14:20…oh no, it’s „Ave Maria“, the corny „evergreen“ that every singer hates, much like pianists usually hate „Fuer Elise“…it might be the most uninteresting showcase for a voice…ever! And after all this talk about tears and opera, why does „La Fiamma“ choose something that is decidedly NO opera aria?
15) 16:20 it is not very polite of Rodrigo to publicly doubt La Fiamma’s ability with the arias that she herself has chosen. Even socially clumsy conductors would have a private talk with the diva about this.
16) 16:40 Go, Rodrigo! You proposed a piece by a „contemporary composer“! I love you!
17) Hailey, when you have reached Piazza San Marco in Venice you have actually already passed the Rialto bridge, either by boat or by foot! Why is she pretending she hasn’t seen it yet? Or is it supposed to be a caricature of American ignorance of Europe?
18) 18:40 …and in this particular shot they actually go in the wrong direction, towards the Biennale grounds!
19)18:50….and magically appear at the Rialto bridge!
20) 24:50…“shock and awe“ with a tiny chamber ensemble playing easy listening repertoire like Vivaldi and Fauré? „Shock and awe“ my ass, Andrew! And Hailey coming so late means she will play terribly in the concert as she had no time to prepare her reed, usually super important for oboists before playing! And Andrew…there is no „soundcheck“ if you play with acoustic instruments!
21) 25:08 no cellist on this planet would get this kind of applause before having played a note simply because he entered the stage in an average chamber ensemble concert. This is the fantasy classical music world of „Mozart in the Jungle“!
22) If a player in a small ensemble like this would suddenly leave the stage because of sickness in the middle of the piece the other players would actually stop, because they couldn’t go on without the integral instrument! In a Jazz concert other instruments might take over and improvise, but in this case they play from a score with fixed notation – you can’t just leave something away like the solo oboe! Even vain Andrew would realize this and stop playing!
23) Hailey returns from the restroom and….half the concert is already over? In reality people would have been extremely worried and have banged at the door!