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Subject: Re: "Ungrateful roles" and why
From: David Geary <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Geary <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Dec 2016 09:58:11 +0100
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>To start with, I don't like the term "ungrateful roles".  Beginning with the quoted line that started this string, how are we to >know that Turridu has been killed unless we are told?  Varnay did not think the line ungrateful or that singing it was beneath >her.  When, in her later years, she was singing Mama Lucia and the soprano scheduled to sing the line became ill, Varnay asked >for and received permission to sing the line herself.  Can you imagine what it was like in the theater that night?

As it happens, I was there. But the story as told isn't exact. Varnay
loved singing Mamma Lucia, she writes almost a whole chapter about the
role in her book. When she did the production in Munich with Giancarlo
del Monaco staging, they couldn't find a girl from the chorus who could
scream and deliver the line convincingly. She said "I could do i, b ut I
can't I'm on stage." Del Monaco said "Why not?" He had her look off
stage and moan "Hanno amazzato Turiddu!", and Santuzza repeated it.
Santuzza btw was no one less than Leonie Rysanek, singing her first
Santuzza. Despite her, and Domingo as Turiddu, Varnay managed to turn
Mamma Lucia into the central figure.

Turiddu sang Canio as well, and I know I'm not supposd to say it on this
list, but he was stupendous.

To get back to the ungrateful roles topic,  I think the classic case is
Don Carlo, a long role, very hard to sing  and all the glory goes to
Phillip, Eboli, Posa and Elisabetta. more or less in that order.

David  

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