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Subject: Mattila Salome/Chenier/American Tragedy/Trovatore
From: "paolo (G. Paul Padillo)" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:paolo (G. Paul Padillo)
Date:Wed, 14 Dec 2005 14:51:24 -0500
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Unfortunately, as these things happen, the Met Salome with Karita Mattila 
has been pushed back to 2006 release (January, can we hope?).  No reasons 
have been given (to my knowledge) for this delay . . . just one of those 
things.  

I was pretty angry because I'd planned on a number of copies in November as 
Christmas gifts and now . . .  well, I'll just be buying one - for me.

This sort of thing happened with the Met Tristan und Isolde as well.  I had 
pre-ordered about 10 copies for Christmas, and when they announced it also 
was not being released until January (and then pushed even further, if 
memory serves correctly) I decided my VHS copy of the telecast would serve 
nicely for me to transfer onto my own DVD and saved me money.  The studio’s 
loss.   

* * * * 
As to Nemico della Patria – I agree with you, Jim:  it’s glorious, an 
almost insanely wonderful aria (with a terrific intro), – one of the best 
in the verismo cannon (and boy could Merrill sang the hell out of it!) .  
But to say there’s no Puccinian equal, Jim?  Maybe not for you, but for 
moi, “Nella Silenzio” from Tabarro ranks right up there.  I think it is one 
of Puccini’s best moments (and I’m a tenor!)  Both vocally and orchestrally 
it is a thing of wonder with its final page or so of violently swirling 
strings creating the whirlpool Michele is describing contains some of the 
most chilling, hair raising music imaginable. It is waaaay different than 
the Chenier, but in its own way, does the same thing to me.

* * * 
Trovatore/American Tragedy

Peter Wolfe wrote (in part  - portions snipped for brevity):

“Sixty years later, the leading opera composer of the time (perhaps of all-
time) was given a convoluted and wildly improbable libretto which dealt 
with a half-mad gypsy who once threw a baby in a fire and two mortal 
enemies in love with the same woman . . . Verdi looked to the libretto for 
situations which allowed him to . . . write emotionally powerful music for 
great voices. That is why we'll be listening to Il Trovatore long after "An 
American Tragedy" has been forgotten.”


Excellent points, but not really the entire picture.  While Trovatore’s 
libretto, to modern audiences might seem wildly improbable, convoluted and 
even ludicrous, it wasn’t really an “original” story Cammarono handed 
Verdi, but rather a treatment based on the hit 1836’ Spanish play, “El 
trovador” by Verdi’s contemporary, Antonio García Gutiérrez.  

Today we have “science” which has explained away gods, demons, irrational 
fear, even belief in religion providing us with sensible illuminations into 
modern civility and rationality.  This was not the case of the world taking 
place in Trovatore and even only a century and a half ago, Verdi’s 
audiences were not that far removed from living the superstitions and 
horrors of the people in Gutiérrez’s tale.  It’s a tremendously exciting 
story wed to tremendous (some of the very best) music in the entire 
operatic cannon.  THAT is why it’s a hit. 

I don’t think it really fair to compare Picker’s freshly inked opus with 
the established success of a work that has enjoyed 150 plus years of being 
one of the most popular works in all of opera.  

Personally, I’m looking forward (very much so) to hearing the broadcast and 
seeing the thing myself on the 28th (and Wozzeck the night before!  
Woohoo!!!)

p.

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