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
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
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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.
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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!
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