Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, Season 3, Episode 2 „The Modern Piece“

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) So an Asian girl making giant air bubbles actually fills a complete hall night after night? Couldn’t they have thought of….something a bit more realistic?

2) I might add that the orchestra is demonstrating for rights that are absolutely normal for most European orchestra members. But ok, with a current American president that removes even the tiniest cultural budgets from his agenda (like the National Endowment for the Arts), simply because they are for – egad! – culture….
Ok, I’m with the orchestra here!

3) 6:38 Referring to the stage name of a famous opera diva while sitting at her kitchen table eating her clams (wow, that sounds somehow sexual) might seem respectful, but actually it isn’t, especially with a stupid stage name like „The She-Flame“ (La fiamma). Imagine sitting with Evel Knievel for breakfast and always calling him, well, „Knievel“ or something. Probably her real name would be more appropriate.

4) 7:30…so Rodrigo just does „opera“ with „The Flame“? Just like that? Remember, when he arrived (on a bike on the Grande Canale!) it wasn’t even clear what and if she would sing, and now suddenly they have an opera production, with director, stage designer, orchestra? Where do all these folks suddenly come from, they have to be booked years in advance!

5) 8:40 „La fiamma“ worked…as a housekeeper at the conservatory to „observe the lessons“? If I remember my study times there were never any cleaning ladies listening to my lessons. Cleaning ladies in music universities exist, but they work late in the evening or early in the morning. And they don’t just enter a room with a private singing lesson in progress…And by the way: janitors take care of the university grounds but they don’t clean (usually).

6) By the way – the scene with the students is supposed to look like they are in the hall of the school. In fact it is a normal practicing room with a cembalo. Why would they put a cembalo in the hallway? Nobody would ever be able to practice and the instrument would be damaged soon.

7) Oh my god, it is actually a real composer (Nico Muhly) playing…eh…the real composer Nico Muhly! This kind of realism is shocking and unprecedented on American TV! The only unrealistic thing here is that Nico Muhly would not fly to Venice on the vague possibility that he might perhaps write a piece for a picky opera diva who hasn’t performed in years and who has never been a performer of contemporary music….

8) Opera singers are not hired to sing an „Aria“ in an opera, they are hired to sing a role in an opera, Nico!

9) Another possible „ignorant American“ joke is Hailey’s answer to Beppi – „de nada“ is of course spanish, not Italian…

10) 10:38 …. I don’t think this sounds like a typical Nico Muhly piece at all…

11) Actually Nico Muhly is not so bad incorporating… eh…Nico Muhly.

12) „Maybe you should change the story“. You know what, Alessandra (the „She-Flame“) is right! Astonishingly enough the libretto is based on a real case, but Muhly is bringing it across as if it wasn’t.

13) Why does Hailey think she can just walk into this work meeting without having any reason too? There is no „oboe aria“ in the Amy Fisher opera. She doesn’t even knock! Again she is weirdly impolite, but for some reason everybody loves her.

14) Rodrigo’s Italian isn’t so bad that an Italian would not try some kind of communication. And most Italians actually do understand Spanish (kind of)!

15) 15:30. It’s not a washing machine, it’s bad 90’s synth pop, Danny!

16) „Robocop’s anus“ is a correct description for a 20-second shitty electronic piece that you were invited to „work on“ as a famous conductor. And why does Andy invite a classically trained conductor to an electronic mixing studio to „work“ on this? Why does he think a classical musician can contribute something here?

17) 16:30 This particular keyboard would not produce a grand piano sound like this.

18) „One octave up“, Danny? Why do you even bother Pembridge to do this, it is just a mouse click away!

19) The kind of quick mixing that Danny does here wouldn’t work like that. And why does he talk of an „orchestra“ when he adds electronic sounds? And why the hell does Pembridge suddenly like this shit?

20) 20:00. Alessandra pretends that she thinks the story of Amy Fisher is „unrealistic“. The reason might be that she doesn’t use the internet, because the story with „Buttafuoco“ happened exactly like described in real life!

21) 23:58 Why is Alessandra selecting costumes for „Amy Fisher“? I don’t understand – she sings an aria of this piece in a concert version? I thought the premiere of this piece was in New York? „La Fenice“ doesn’t do a lot of world premieres lately. Why is everybody suddenly ready, has costumes prepared, etc.? Nico Muhly just arrived at the airport and he didn’t have a commission from Venice but for New York! Why does the commissioner in the US allow the piece to be premiered in Italy suddenly?

22) 24:44…eh….ok….Not even heterosexual women can resist….“La Fiamma“!!!!!!

23) 26:15 Nico Muhly has composed a German opera instead of an opera about „Amy Fisher“

24) Strangely enough this piece is listed in the end titles as „written by Nico Muhly“. But hey, it isn’t! Copyright infringement?

Moritz Eggert

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