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Subject: Re: More on "Cosi"
From: London Tier <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:London Tier <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 16 Feb 2017 06:48:24 -0800
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Well, Lorenzo da Ponte wrote the libretto for Antonio Salieri, who started
composing it but then handed it down to Mozart. Therefore it is one of his
more "Italian" librettos - full of in-jokes of a quite sophisticated
literary kind (all those verbal quotations that few people
recognise nowadays save the oft-noted Sannazaro one, though no one
realises its original context) - and also his most "operatic" (in the sense
of being "about" opera and its absurdities). By one reading, Mozart
completely missed the point, probably because he himself wasn't Italian
enough (which was Mozart's perpetual problem in Vienna), which is also why
he invests so much in the music. Thus the "mistake" is Mozart's, not da
Ponte's, but as you say, it's a glorious one.



On Thursday, February 16, 2017, Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]
<javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml',[log in to unmask]);>> wrote:

> Dennis - I agree with you so much, except for the fact that I will surely
> see and hear Cosi
> many more times in my life.
>
> But yes - the story makes absolutely no sense, and despite the fact that
> Mozart always
> has profound things to say about the human condition through his music, I
> do feel that his
> talents are wasted on these shallow characters. You're absolutely on the
> mark that often
> Mozart's sense of emotional scale seems too big for these one-dimensional
> characters. It's
> not that they can't feel strong emotions - it's more that the characters,
> as they are, aren't
> really given enough dramatic importance to make such huge emotions
> credible. We don't
> know anything about them aside from their rather stock-character nature -
> we also know
> nothing about their current relationships, or why Alfonso has such a need
> to cynically
> disprove their love, etc. There are simply no stakes in the plot. Which is
> why you tightly
> feel that the cruel joke, as you put it, goes on for too long - it just
> can't be sustained
> credibly for as long as Mozart and da Ponte would like it to be. Because
> we have zero stake
> in these cardboard characters that we really know nothing about. The story
> is really only
> good enough to last for a "Bastien Und Bastienne"-sized duration - what
> gets us through
> the rest of it is Mozart's glorious music.
>
> And glorious it is, which is why I will always come back to the piece. But
> while I feel that
> both Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni are brilliantly structured
> musical stories with
> characters that have real stakes, Cosi takes a few too many steps back
> into empty calorie
> cheap comic schtick. I'd compare it to the mistake SNL used to make by
> trying to turn
> some of their successful sketch bits into full-length movies. Didn't work.
> Neither the
> stories nor the one-dimensional characters could sustain a full-length
> feature, even if one
> goes into it knowing it's all for cheap laughs and doesn't aspire to be an
> Oscar contender.
> ;-)
>
> The problem is that Mozart's music is irresistible. I suppose we could
> have worse
> problems, lol...;-)
>
>
>
> On Thu, 16 Feb 2017 01:48:48 -0500, Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> >Hi, Y'all!
> >    To explain a bit:  my feelings about Mozart's  "Cosi fan tutte" (I
> >don't HATE it, I just don't care for it)  have two main causes:
> >    1.  The entire story is based on a cruel,  meaningless joke.  I cannot
> >sympathize with anyone who would perpetrate  such a trick, nor can I
> >sympathize with two sisters who fall in love so  meaninglessly or so
> quickly once
> >their lovers are gone, or who are stupid enough  to fall for the trick.
> And
> >no matter HOW the story is contrived to end  (with the lovers paired as
> they
> >were at the beginning of the opera, or paired  differently) no one in the
> >story has the remotest clue about what true  love really is or how it
> >enriches the soul, even though the music wants  desperately to tell us
> they do.
> >    2.  The music is magnificent.  TOO  magnificent.  Fiordiligi amd
> >Dorabella are totally clueless as to  the true nature of their "loves"
> for either
> >of the lovers in question,  yet are given some of the most magnificent,
> >noble music Mozart ever  wrote.  (The word "bimbo" readily comes to
> mind.)  One
> >would think,  just listening to the music, that Fiordiligi was Leonore in
> >"Fidelio,"  or Elisabeth in "Tannhauser."  The arias are nice when they
> show
> >up in  galas.  In the opera, they make no sense, and seem ludicrous, even.
> >The story says NOTHING WHATSOEVER about the human condition.  The  music
> >wants to, except that it complements only total vapidity.   The "depth the
> >music gives the characters" (in Max Paley's  words) is nonexistent,
> because
> >there is nothing there for the music to give  depth to.
> >    3.  I end up feeling nothing but frustration,  wanting so to like this
> >opera and still finding nothing in it to like  except a string of nice
> >concert arias presented in odd sets by singers in  odd costumes.  I will
> never go
> >to "Cosi" again.
> >    Best,
> >    Dennis Ryan
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >In a message dated 2/15/2017 10:55:36 P.M. Central Standard Time,
> >[log in to unmask] writes:
> >
> >It took me a while to get into "Cosi fan tutte." I always found the  music
> >exquisite but I found the characters a group of shallow, unlikeable
> people.
> >Over time I learned to hear the depth the music gives the characters  (the
> >orchestra commenting on and often contradicting their words).
> >
> >Max  Paley
> >
> >Sent from my iPhone
> >
> >> On Feb 15, 2017, at 20:25, Hermine  Stover
> ><[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >>
> >> At 04:32 PM  2/15/2017, donald kane wrote:
> >>> I've never understood where any  audience for COSI FAN TUTTE ever
> >>> came from; even Beethoven didn't  like it.
> >>
> >>
> >> I love Cosi. Beethoven was deaf. I surely  believe he heard his music in
> >his head but what about the music of  OTHERS>
> >>
> >> hermine
> >>
> >>
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