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Subject: Re: More on Forza at the Met
From: RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 24 May 2017 23:05:00 -0400

text/plain (147 lines)

Hi, Jon.

The same is true when attempts are made to trim Wagner's Ring.  :)

Over a half-century ago, when I had an opera show on my college radio station -- uniquely called "Sunday Night At The Opera"  :) -- I "produced" an LP record for those who claimed that classical music was too long to be listened to.  I started with a recording of R-K's "Scheherazade".  overlaid it with Liszt's "Les Preludes", then with Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony, etc. until I had six layers of music playing all at once. You get the idea -- attempts to modernize, trim or otherwise adapt existing musical classics to contemporary tastes are almost always doomed to failure.



On May 24, 2017 at 9:06 PM Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This all might be better accomplished by having Alvaro drop his gun in the opening scene, 
> and, as it accidentally goes off, it also manages to shoot major holes into the score. 
> Whatever pages are left intact, no matter how awful the resulting cuts, are all that is 
> performed. ;-)
> I'm particularly interested in how one would play the inn scene with essentially ONLY 
> "Pereda" and the prayer. Without the context of the rest of the scene, I'm not sure how 
> this would make sense in any universe. ;-)  (Besides, what would the point of "Pereda" be 
> when that plotline/pseudonym never gets used again anyway?)
> I'd rather hear all of Forza, perceived warts and all. Taking a wild unwieldy scalpel to the 
> score, as Mr. Riggs would like to do, only makes it worse than he thinks it is to begin with. 
> On Tue, 23 May 2017 00:31:06 -0400, Geoffrey Riggs <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >I might seriously consider, instead of snipping out sequences like the
> >superb "Sleale" duet (often a traditional cut but really essential to
> >making any sense out of Alvaro's recognizing Carlo in the last act:
> >"Don Carlo! Voi! Vivente!"), cutting the inn scene to the bare bone
> >(retaining Don Carlo's "Son Pereda" and Leonora's few lines of prayer,
> >thus making sense of Leonora's "La mia orrenda storia" etc. lines in
> >the next scene, but dispensing with most of the rest), snipping out
> >the camp scene altogether (yes, and I might even find some way of
> >cutting out Preziosilla from the entire opera altogether or just
> >leaving her a comprimario), and perhaps having Guardiano and Melitone
> >alone at the start of the last act with nothing of the soup kitchen
> >left in.
> >
> >Shocking, maybe, though less shocking, I feel, than leaving out the
> >"Sleale", which is the peripeteia of the whole drama, but which was an
> >(outrageous) conventional discard in too many productions for too much
> >of the past century!
> >
> >Well, if I was feeling really disrespectful, I might consider
> >something like this (and this is partly tongue-in-cheek): Start off
> >with the overture, followed by the opening scene together with the
> >extremely trimmed inn scene as the bulk of Act One. Then I might have
> >a full intermission for the soprano before the monastery, making the
> >monastery the first scene of Act Two, and then changing the first
> >scene of Act Three on the battlefield to scene two of Act Two, turning
> >Carlo's "Egli e salvo" into a cabaletta finale of the whole second act.
> >
> >After a full intermission to give Alvaro and Carlo a rest, I might
> >plunge right in with the "Sleale" duet as the first scene of the third
> >and final act. After that, Alvaro and Carlo would still need a rest,
> >so in place of the excised camp scene, I might submit my most
> >tongue-in-cheek and disrespectful proposal of all: Open the next and
> >last scene with Leonora's "Pace" _prior_ to Guardiano's and Melitone's
> >colloquy re "Padre Rafaele" (sp.?) and set the entire act outside
> >Leonora's refuge.
> >
> >It gets more outrageous: I've always felt that the bulk of Leonora's
> >"Pace" is some of the most sublime music ever penned, while the
> >"Misero pane" (sp.?) coda has always struck me as an awkward add-on
> >for the sole purpose of giving the soprano a boffo ending on a high
> >note. Moreover, this coda refers to a duel offstage that, in this
> >high-handed arrangement, hasn't yet taken place. Removing my tongue
> >from my cheek momentarily, I have to say that the words ending "invan
> >spero" right before this coda are, to me, set as a sublime cadence
> >that ends the chief melody of this aria on a haunting tonic, and I
> >have sometimes wished the music could close gently right there. Well,
> >fine then, let's end "Pace" right there for real, have Leonora go back
> >dejectedly to her hut on this quiet close, followed, after tumultuous
> >applause, with Melitone and Guardiano coming on and talking about this
> >"Padre Rafaele" (sp.?), with Guardiano and Melitone quietly laying out
> >Leonora's food as they talk. There is no doorbell for Carlo's
> >entrance, since he's simply stumbled on a startled Melitone in his
> >vengeful wanderings (this would snip out maybe half a dozen lines,
> >confining the exchange strictly to Carlo's request that Alvaro/the
> >"Padre" be brought over by Melitone).
> >
> >The big duel scene would flow right into Alvaro's desperate attempt at
> >succour for the wounded Carlo, who would be stabbed right on stage,
> >followed, without a break (except applause for the duet), by Alvaro's
> >immediately walking up and knocking on Leonora's door, Leonora being
> >stabbed by Carlo right onstage, followed by Guardiano's entrance, who
> >would come on too late, running from the monastery right on stage, as
> >a result of Leonora's having rung her alarum bell as in the original.
> >This whole final sequence could be staged this way without cutting
> >any of the music.
> >
> >No question that this means, for one thing, that both Preziosilla and
> >Melitone are now turned into pure comprimario parts. There is nothing
> >distinctive left for them to do. In an uncharitable mood, though, I
> >might shrug my shoulders and say, "So what?"
> >
> >O.K., rant over;-)
> >
> >Geoffrey Riggs
> >
> >
> >
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