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Subject: Re: More on Forza at the Met
From: Sheila Pinsker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Sheila Pinsker <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 26 May 2017 01:54:30 -0400

text/plain (52 lines)

Caruso and De Luca recorded the “Sleale” duet in July, 1918, some
four months prior to the premiere. The review quoted in the Met Archives
mentions that it was, I believe, “elided” but two extra ballet numbers
were inserted in the Camp scene. Since the omission seems to have
been standard Italian practice at the time, its possible that the music
wasn’t in the available orchestral parts.

For many of us, the benchmark recording was the wartime Cetra recording,
now available on Naxos, followed by the 1943 Met broadcast conducted
by Bruno Walter. Both omit the duet; I have not followed either with a score
to see what other cuts were made. There is a CD of the 1943 broadcast
which moves the overture from between the first two scenes to the
beginning. As I understand it, Franz Werfel's reasoning in preparing the
German edition was that the opening scene is a prologue and the action
really starts with the Inn scene. There is a lot of action taking place between
those two scenes. 
Bing restored the duet but has there ever been a logical explanation for his
omitting the Inn scene? There was constant tinkering with the Wallenstein’s
Camp scene. Not sure, but I think there were some performances when
either Trabucco or Preziosilla were omitted and one year the Rataplan
chorus was dropped and the curtain came down at the end of Melitone’s
sermon; a very flat ending. Now I am in the minority that likes the Rataplan.
Sure, its corny or whatever the current expression is but it is a great way
to end an act and the current practice of then having Alvaro and Carlo
come out for the Sleale duet seems anti-climactic to me. That is its position
in the original St.Petersburg version, but there it is followed by a tenor
aria omitted from the 1869 edition. Might be my imagination but I think
I have heard it inserted in a couple of recent performances from Europe.
Where does the duet belong? I favor the published version. Act 3 begins
b/4 dawn with the Comgagni chorus by a patrol; for some reason it
reminds me of Henry V’s soliloquy the night b/4 Agincourt.  Then the
duel, broken up by the returning patrol which drags off Carlo and Alvaro
announces that he shall enter a cloister at which point we have daybreak
and the opening chorus of the Wallenstein’s Camp scene. Relocating
the duel should not deny us of that beautiful chorus.

The Maryinsky performance of the 1862 version, conducted by Gergiev,
is available on Youtube
Bob P

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