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Subject: Verdi Gala/Harolyn Blackwell
From: "William A. Fregosi" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:William A. Fregosi
Date:Thu, 31 May 2001 16:26:31 -0400

text/plain (44 lines)

To Vera and List--

A thought or two about Ms. Blackwell and the Oscar scene.  The soprano was
studying in Italy and caught the attention of Renata Tebaldi at a
competition.  In Tebaldi's opinion Ms. Blackwell was working in too heavy a
repertory and Tebaldi urged her to concentrate on the light coloratura
pieces for which she seemed best suited.  Blackwell has appeared in print
thanking the great soprano for her advice and support at a critical moment
in her development.

Blackwell then debuted at the MET as Pousette in MANON, not the kind of
role in which you can really stand out unless you are something special.
The press notices singled her out for praise and she was launched.  When
the BALLO production was new, while deploring the hyperkinetic action
expected of Oscar by the director, critical and public reception was warm
for how Blackwell managed to do it all and still sing.  While some may not
care for her work, Blackwell was quite well received and her performance
was considered a success.

Many commentators have discussed the Oscar scenes, together with a lot of
Gustav's music in Act one.  Their style is new in Verdi's mature work and,
when examined with the Brother Melitone scenes in LA FORZA DEL DESTINO,
have been seen as tracing a line from Rossini to FALSTAFF.  I don't believe
I have seen any dismissal of Oscar's music as lacking in worth--indeed the
opposite has been the case from those I have read.

Bill Fregosi

William Fregosi
Technical Coordinator for Theater Arts     Ph: (617) 253-0862
Massachusetts Institute of Technology      FAX:  (617) 258-7149
E33-201   77 Massachusetts Avenue         E-Mail: [log in to unmask] (office)
Cambridge, MA  02139                                [log in to unmask] (home)

       I live through risk.  Without risk, there is no art. You should always
       be on the edge of a cliff about to fall down and break your neck.

Carlos Fuentes

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