Everything that is wrong in „Mozart in the Jungle“, Season 3, Episode 5: „Now I will sing“

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:

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1) 3:30 Beppi wishes Rodrigo „good luck“ in Italian (literal translation is actually „a lot of shit“) for the performance, to which Rodrigo responds „anche per te“. This makes no sense, as Beppi is not performing at all! Is he supposed to shit himself just like that?

2) 7:40 The last 4 episodes there was all this fuss about Alessandra singing or not, endless preparations of the concert, rehearsals, romantic affairs, quarrels etc…..and now Rodrigo is going to play violin? We never saw him practice in the last weeks, and – you know – even super-prodigies and geniusses actually practice the violin before giving a concert…also: why is Winnie acting as if he sees Alessandra for the first time in a long while? Haven’t they practiced at least once? It seems mad to go into such a hyped concert in front of thousands of people without having at least a runthrough.

3) This whole concert situation is very weird: Winnie – the accompanist – is playing by memory, which is unusual in Lied accompaniment, as the pianist’s job is to support the singer and save him if he/she gets lost. And what is Rodrigo doing there with his violin, conducting Alessandra in a Klavierlied? We have seen conductors do a lot of crazy stuff, but this is actually too crazy!

4) Also: what is completely bullshit here is that there is no microphone to be seen on the silly raft with the unlikely trio. This is an open air situation, Alessandra’s voice would simply not carry that well here, even if on the water, especially when the audience is so far away. In a situation like this amplification would definitely be needed! And Rodrigo plays a completely invented violin part that has not been composed by Schubert – why? The song works perfectly well without it! It’s simply because the director said „we need Rodrigo to be present and to play along“, that’s why…

5) 10:30: So the raft concert from Venice is on as a live broadcast in the US? It seems so, because it’s correct that in New York it should be day when there is evening in Venice. But consider this: a chamber classical music concert goes live internationally? This would only happen if it was connected to a big event like a presidential inauguration or a big sports event.

6) 10:40: so much applause after one minute of a song (interrupted way before it ends and with the singer missing the entrance audibly twice)? What?

7) 11:10: Placido Domingo – who has never appeared at any rehearsals before – is accompanied by a string trio playing music originally composed for an opera orchestra (Don Giovanni). And even weirder: the string trio needs to be conducted by Rodrigo (it wouldn’t).

8) 12:00: Domingo seems to relish his role here, doing intimate stuff with „la Fiamma“ that would be completely lost to most of the audience in the distance.

9) 14:00: as the raft performance seems to be the prelude for a bigger performance it makes Rodrigo look even more like a dick that he actually was on the boat – conducting small chamber music stuff that doesn’t need to be conducted, playing some little and uninteresting violin notes in a song that doesn’t even have violin in it. A bonfire of the vanities!

10) 14:30: So there are more people watching the show in Beijing than actually are alive in Beijing?

11) 15:50: Again: no microphone or any amplification on Piazza San Marco. It would sound like crap and nobody would hear her.

12) It adds to the eccentricity of the performances that Alessandra seems to want to perform all these arias „en concertante“, but in the original costumes of the role. The audience would have to wait a long time for the costume changes! (and they do – see later)

13) 17:00: Rodrigo’s conducting movements have not the least relation to the actual music played („Samson et Delilah“).

14) 17:34: the viola player in this shot is visibly still playing but the music has already stopped!

15) 18:00: with a big show like this and an impatient audience waiting for the next song (see above) – why is the job of helping „La Fiamma“ into the new outfit left completely to Hailey, who has no experience in these things? In reality there would be several people struggling to make the costume change as quickly as possible. The production can afford to hire Placido Domingo (who inexcplicably knows about the death of a minor Mexican conductor who has not publicly performed in ages, instead teaching children in a slum) to sing for 1 minute on a raft, but they can’t hire a real costume department with pros?

16) 19:00: And now Rodrigo is conducting a purely electronic piece – why? In reality this would be done with monitors or a plug in the ear for the singer. If she knows the music she wouldn’t meed a conductor! And what has been done to entertain the audience in between the probably endless costume change done in slow motion and relaxed conversation by Hailey alone? Acrobats maybe? A bubble show? We heard that’s big in the US!

17) 19:30: Rodrigo triggers samples with a foot pedal while needlessly conducting? Ridiculous!

18) 19:40: And to make it even more ridiculous Rodrigo makes a knocking movement with his hands to conduct a line featuring knocking, even though „Alessandra“ clearly seems to know her part and hasn’t flaundered at all. Vanity conducting at its best!

19) Everybody seems to make a big fuss being annoyed by the contemporary composition even though it is completely tonal and boringly pleasant.

20) More invented and completely useless conducting movements at 21:30. They make me cry!

21) 22:30: Why does the audience applaud immediately after the final note? The „new“ music is so non-descript and listless that nobody could be sure that the piece actually ends here. „That is daft“, said Pemberton, and he is right!

22) Again standing ovations for a completely unremarkable performance of boring music.

23) Pemberton says „well done, my lad“ about a Rodrigo conducting performance that was mostly completely unnecessary or useless. Must be British politeness.

24) 25:20: Little Mozart says some completely made up stuff about his father „missing him“ in Salzburg. Rodrigo’s subconscious mind should know better muksic history!

Moritz Eggert