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Subject: Re: La Forza del Destino
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Sat, 14 Jan 2017 12:49:01 -0500

text/plain (45 lines)

Donald is right - Forza IS disjointed and jumps around a lot.  But that was intentional on 
Verdi's part.  His correspondence, both while composing the original and when doing the 
revisions, shows that he was trying to create a big, sprawling epic that covered great 
distances and much time.  Now I don't think Verdi was completely successful in this.  But 
the powerful music goes a long way towards making up for the dramatic hop-skip.

Verdi's intent was to follow one aristocratic family, the Calatravas, and Don Alvaro, an 
outsider bound up with them and their fate through the death of the Marquis, through the 
vicissitudes of death, war, distance, and religious contemplation, and show how Destiny 
pushed them all inoxerably to their collective doom.  (Remember that Don Alvaro commits 
suicide in the original version.)  And the camp/genre scenes, which many regard as 
irrelevant distractions, were for Verdi a very important part of this story: outside the main 
narrative but nevertheless interacting with it and providing a constantly shifting and colorful 
background.  Verdi actually was more concerned with the casting of Melitone, Trabucco and 
Preziosilla, than he was with the main roles. 

Complaints that "The Force of Destiny" should be retitled, "The Force of Coincidence," miss 
the point.  DESTINY/FATE - embodied in those three brass notes and the surging "destiny" 
theme, which recurs throughout the opera - pushes all the characters towards that tragic 
final scene.  In this opera, there is no coincidence - nothing is random or happenstance 
because the force of destiny, impersonal, inoxerable and tragic, determines these 
characters' choices and movements.     

In "Forza," Verdi really was aiming high and on a scale not previously attempted in Italian 
opera.  If he failed in part, ultimately, it is nevertheless a noble, grand failure that 
commands respect if not affection.  "Forza" is not my favorite Verdi opera, but I love much 
of it, particularly the Convent Scene and the final scene.  With a first-rate cast and 
production, it can be a powerful experience.  



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