Edgar Allan Poe, that sad, crazy potato and possibly our greatest writer (together with Twain, that other nut Pound, and a couple others) taught us that there is no aestethic experience more powerful, for a reader, than being able to read a story from beginning to end in just one sitting.
(That's why he was such a firm believer in the power of short stories). Some works of musical theater, just like literature, are for their very nature best experienced in one sitting, straight up, no interruptions, no intervals, no time for overpriced drinks in the Ridotto (and no bathroom breaks, a possible issue in classical music with its increasingly aging audience).
The Makropulos Affair is one of those works that should really be staged without pause, not to dilute its subtle, creepy power. As the key theme to The Makropulos Affair, the conundrum of immortality is truly a mixed blessing. After last night's premiere of Leoš Janácek's three-act opera at Teatro alla Scala, despite the creamy music, gorgeous direction/sets, and stellar singing, we honestly felt like the old/restyled-as-new Luca Ronconi staging tested our own immortality and our resolve to keep things simpler, sparing continuity for big ideas and even bigger sets.
The Makropulos Affair is Janácek's stabby stab at turning Karel Capek's 1922 play into opera (where after he had seen the play in Prague in 1922, he started communicating with Capek to gain rights and artistic guidance), complete with libretto (penned by the maestro between 1923 - 1925) continuing on the everlasting argument of immortality.