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Subject: Re: Pinkerton
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 1 Feb 2017 14:23:18 +0000
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Thanks for sharing. I remember seeing my share of Butterflys with two intermissions. I always liked the very quiet humming chorus and slowly descending curtain that ended the second act to be followed by an intermission. Then, upon resuming, I loved those slashing orchestral chords which open the final act. I have a problem these days with sciatica and it's a very, very long second act in the currently performed manner. But more to the point, I find an Aida who's first act extends all the way to the closing of the Triumphal Scene WAY too long. Ditto for Don Carlo in the four act version. 
I've heard other people complain about the same thing. Of course, all of us are now "of a certain age" where extended sitting can mean actually physical pain when getting up. Just an observation. 
A damn good thing that this "extra" Butterfly Scene was dropped. 
Of course, if the performance is extraordinary, the sitting is a little more bearable. But when the conductor chooses a slower tempi, it can be very physically difficult for people in the audience who need to get up and walk around a bit. 
Just another angle on this. 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Kurt Youngmann" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 7:40:53 AM 
Subject: Re: Pinkerton 

For anyone interested in the genesis / background of the opera I recommend starting with Long's story before reading Belasco's play. It really is a fascinating progression. 

It's been quite some time since I've read either so I can't say whether a scene conceived by Puccini and/or the librettists appeared in either Long or Belasco that was to have taken 
place at the American consulate was original or not. In the scene, Butterfly visits Sharpless to inquire after Pinkerton and his hoped-for return. Some time before the premiere Puccini decided that the scene added nothing to the plot and, indeed, slowed things down. Not unusually for the Puccini/ Giacosa/Illica team the librettists objected strenuously. But the composer had excellent dramatic instincts. 

Another example of his keen sense of drama, IMO, was his idea of presenting acts 2 & 3 without intermission. There were objections that it would be too long without a break so an early revision split the scene in two. In recent years we've realized that Puccini's original instinct was correct. Most productions in recent years have reverted to the original. In fact one of the things that attracted him to the story was Butterfly's long, uninterrupted vigil. 

Kurt Youngmann 

Sent from my iPad 

> On Feb 1, 2017, at 12:08 AM, R PRADA <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
> 
> I have not read the original Belasco, but that is what I took out of the score. 

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