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Subject: ANDREA CHENIER - in defense
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Date:Tue, 3 Apr 2001 20:14:04 EDT
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Dear list,

I don't often post in this way.   On March 18, 1960, as a senior in high
school, I came to New York from Philadelphia for a conference.   I was 16.
Our sponsor (my high school and teachers) provided tickets for our evening
entertainment.   We had tickets for "My Fair Lady",   " A Raisin in the Sun"
and the MET.   Our Met performance was ANDREA CHENIER.   To prepare for this
event, I managed to get a recording of CHENIER (Tebaldi and Soler) and
listened to the opera to death.    I was sold.   I was sold on Tebaldi,
Tenors, Baritones, and most of all on Giordani.   Reading all the posts about
PHILADELPHIA - city of my birth - and CHENIER - my first MET opera, brought
me back to the salad days.   I recall this performance (Tebaldi, Tucker,
Bastianini, Amparan, Flagello, Cleva) as tho it were last month.  Luckily,
this cast repeated the performance a few weeks later on the broadcast.   I
taped this performance and lived my met debut over and over.   I recall the
majesty of Tebaldi's entrance.....  her exquisite tones, her hands, her
sound.    Tucker blew me away with the Improviso.   Bastianini surely outdid
any baritone sound I ever heard.    Like it was yesterday, I recall how
Tebaldi and Tucker sang the second act duet.   I never heard a tenor melt the
way he did and take up the note that she was holding (piano) and continue the
duet in a perfect stream of glorious sound.   I often think of this moment
and get goose bumps.   I knew then, that my life would change and I would be
an avid opera buff.   I recall Tebaldi singing the aria in Act three.
Sumptuous tones and moving pathos.   At age sixteen, I was not able to
concede the art to the composer.   She had won my heart.

I saw Tebaldi in that role a few other times with Corelli.   It was not the
same.   Maybe it is a fantasy I live with, but Chenier is my favorite opera.
 It was an epiphany for me.   I suppose that each time I listen to it, I am
transported back to the old met and 1960.   How lucky I was.    I guess we
are all partial to our first operas etc.   To the posters for whom this opera
does not mean very much, please consider your first operas.   Maybe Giordano
should be given another chance....   It is a beautiful opera and well
written.   It shows off the soprano, tenor, baritone and so forth.   There is
great orchestration and a show stopper for a mezzo (Amparan - remember her?)
in my operformance.    Sorry to take up your time if you've read this far,
but we are all here on this list because of nights like I just described.   I
wish my own sons would have such a moment in their life.   I thank God for
Giordani, Chenier, Tebaldi, Tucker and Bastianini.

Happy Holiday to all

James Lamb
Staten Island, NY

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