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Subject: Puritani - today, from the Met
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 19 Feb 2017 06:42:57 -0500
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Hi Jon

If you go to Google and key "aria definition" you will see
a large number of entries, all of which define "aria" as music
for a solo voice, particularly when the reference is to opera.

My example of a problem with that definition is "Mi chiamano
Mmi". Ridolfo interjects "si" right in the middle, and I just
can't think that such a rigid definition precludes it being
considered an aria. But, all of your examples, especially
"Plebe! Patrizi! Popolo" are, by the dictionary definition and in
my view, ensembles.

"A te o cara" is no more than 50% Arturo solo vocalism. I
Puritani is particularly interesting in this regard. I cannot think
of one piece of music that is, by definition, an aria, though I
may be forgetting something.

Bob

On Sunday, February 19, 2017, Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]
<javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml',[log in to unmask]);>> wrote:

> Bob - I'm truly curious here, and would invite true discussion on this
> (not a feud). I'm at a
> loss to see your distinction.
>
> As I said, many pieces that involve a major formal solo (pieces we tend to
> call "arias" as a
> matter of course) do involve other voices. Whether it's an occasional solo
> jab ("Recondita
> Armonia") or a choral "backup" of sorts (I used "Il Lacerato Spirito"
> before - this could also
> apply to a huge number of bel canto/Verdi arias, etc) or a full-on complex
> ensemble in
> which the solo melody is the defining part (Musetta's waltz) - we do
> indeed refer to these
> as arias. Are you saying they are not? And if so, what is the dividing
> line?
>
> Would "Plebe, Patrizi" with its gorgeous complex central ensemble section
> (and ending)
> really not be considered an aria? Or the Prize Song? The Toreador Song?
> Isabella's
> wonderful showpiece "Per Lui Che Adoro" with the 3 men adding in their
> sneaky asides?
>
> It does seem to me that, through the Classical period, an aria was more
> strictly just a solo
> (for instance, I can't at the moment think of an example of a Mozart aria
> that involves
> other vocal input - though there might be something I'm not thinking of) -
> but that when
> we get to Bel Canto and beyond, composers started integrating other voices
> into big formal
> solo moments - certainly many examples of arias with chorus involvement
> all through the
> 19th century, but also having other solo voices involved as well. Just as
> there are formal
> structures to certain kinds of arias (as I mentioned before, such as da
> capo or
> cavatina/cabaletta etc), I think the idea of an aria that also involved
> other singing became
> a valid construction. Also, how many cavatina/cabaletta arias can we think
> of (there are so
> many) that involve either chorus or a comprimario or both?
>
> As wonderfully integrated as Elvira (certainly), Giorgio, Walton, and the
> chorus are into "A
> Te O Cara," it's still mostly Arturo's moment - he gets the main melody by
> himself, he's
> the only one to get an extreme bravura moment with that high C# (not Db,
> as Ira Siff tried
> to tell us today), and he's the dramatic focus of the moment (not only
> story-wise, but this
> IS the first singing he does as well - it's his "entrance aria" so to
> speak). I don't know what
> else would define an aria, whether there's other singing going on or not.
> (And as I also said
> earlier, OUT OF CONTEXT of the opera, as with recitals or solo recordings,
> etc, often these
> kinds of pieces are done with the other voices missing for practicality's
> sake, and they still
> work as a solo turn. The kind of solo turn we'd all call an aria.)
>
> So - where is the dividing line between "aria" and "not aria"? I'm truly
> curious to know
> what would qualify some pieces as arias while others would not, in your
> opinion, be so? Are
> we really going to say that a piece can only be an aria if there are no
> other voices involved
> ever? Or is it something else? Seems to me it's going to be a very murky
> line to draw. ;-)
>
>
>
>
> On Sat, 18 Feb 2017 20:33:22 -0500, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> >No, it is not an aria, It is part of an ensemble, which, in sum, is at
> >least as
> >much a  part of  the "so called aria" as Is his music. Your turn, I
> >wouldn't if I were you. It is not an aria!   It is not cllose!
> >
> >Bob
> >
> >On Saturday, February 18, 2017, Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> >> Speaking in accepted general terms, "A Te O Cara" is most certainly an
> >> aria. What else
> >> would you call it?
> >>
> >> If you're saying it can't be an aria because other people sing during
> it,
> >> then neither are
> >> "Recondita Armonia" or "Il Lacerato Spirito" or "Quando M'en Vo," nor
> all
> >> the many solo
> >> pieces with choral involvement, etc. (And all of these, of course, can
> be
> >> sung out of
> >> context without the other voices, on recitals, recordings, etc - and
> often
> >> are.)
> >>
> >> If you're saying it's not in the "form" of an aria - well, there is no
> one
> >> musical structure to
> >> an aria. Arias come in many forms - and not just the formal structures
> >> like da capo and
> >> cavatina/cabaletta.
> >>
> >> And though I'm not aware of what the official Italian terms would be,
> but
> >> if this were
> >> French opera, the title page of what would be "A te O Cara" would
> probably
> >> say "couplets"
> >> - because it's 2 refrains of the melody.
> >>
> >> It's an aria. ;-)
> >>
> >>
> >> Rather - here's an interesting (and odd) argument - Camarena said on the
> >> broadcast
> >> interview that he doesn't think "A Te O Cara" is passionate.
> >> (transcription below.) I tend to
> >> think most if not all of us would disagree, lol. Discuss...;-)
> >>
> >> ("I don't think it's passionate. It's really a way to say [to] her that
> >> she's the thing...she's
> >> the person who make[s] him believe again in love...and it's almost like
> a
> >> declaration, so
> >> it's not so passionate, and it's more tender, more...singing actually to
> >> her, and to himself,
> >> because he remembers all the sorrows he had before...so, I just think
> >> about that - about
> >> the love this guy must be feeling to tell these words to Elvira, so
> it's a
> >> matter of let[ting]
> >> go of yourself with the melody and the text.")
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:21:39 -0500, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]
> >> <javascript:;>> wrote:
> >>
> >> >Today's performance had some knockout moments, mainly
> >> >provided by Javier Camerana.  He was wonderful in "A te o cara"
> >> >(would someone please tell the announcers that it is not an aria)
> >>
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