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Subject: Re: Giles / Hermine: Fanciulla
From: Steve Charitan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 29 Mar 2005 20:43:18 EST
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Bravos to both Patrick Giles and Hermine for some evocative writing on
Puccini's Fanciulla.  I heard it for the first time a year ago in Zurich
(Valeryie, Cura, Pons)  and fell completely under its spell.  Their  words seemed to
catch the essence and subtext of this elusive work.  I say  subtext because a
literal perusal of libretto and stage direction shows it  to be very much a
period piece.  It was a work written in 1910, and  carries with it all that that
implies in terms of moral and cultural  pre-conceptions, even looking further
back to an earlier, and arguably   more "repressed" age - the 1840s.  The
excitement, dissonance, and  continued relevance comes of course from the music -
particularly in that  second act duet between Minnie and Johnson where, like
the second act of  Tristan, the physical contact between these two is all there
for the  ear to hear.  However, after some intense and dare I  suggest
unprotected "duetting," Minnie demurely says, "Here's your  bed...I'll tuck in by the
fire...now you can talk to me from your couch  there..."  What a curious
remark given the sounds that just  came from pit and stage!  A modern audience
reading their MET  titles might do a double take then assume that Minnie and her
Outlaw were so exhausted after such vigorous love making that  they had to
separate just to regroup their forces.  My guess  though, is the composer's
music said what his 1910 libretto  couldn't.  Maybe it was Puccini's response to
Salieri's  classic operatic dilemma "prima la musica e poi le parole"  a
question explored yet again so elegantly by Clemens Krauss & Richard  Strauss in
Capriccio.  On a similar note, I often wondered just how far  Tosca and
Cavarodossi went "in chiesa" during that Act 1 duet - "Davanti alla  Madonna"
indeed...

Steve Charitan
Hudson, OH... listening to Tebaldi & Del Monaco who set it down for the
ages...



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