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Subject: Re: Question about Callas Letter
From: Peter Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
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Date:Fri, 23 Jun 2017 22:11:24 -0400
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"Google is your friend" I was told a long time ago. I found an actual excerpt from the Italian edition of Meneghini's book, Maria Callas Mia Moglie. There the relevant passage reads "alla fine del concertato dell’Aida ho fatto un mi bemolle acuto."


Pairing my limited knowledge of Italian with my limited knowledge of musicology, I believe the last four words translate to "a high E flat." According to Wikipedia, my other friend, in Italy it is customary to refer to notes by their do-re-mi names in the key of C, which would make mi an E. Bemolle means flat in this context, and acuto high.


Somebody let me know if I'm wrong, but I think the "sharp flat" translation (and I have that book too, and that is how it reads) is simply wrong, perhaps mistranslating acuto as "sharp" rather than "high" and misconstruing mi altogether, apparently taking it as a meaningless particle.


 
Peter



-----Original Message-----
From: pchflj <[log in to unmask]>
To: kubiakd <[log in to unmask]>; OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Fri, Jun 23, 2017 4:25 pm
Subject: Re: Question about Callas Letter


Meneghini's book quotes the same letter with a slightly different English translation, but clearly quoting the same passage. There the passage reads: "I'm furious with that tenor Kurt Baum. He's worse than a jealous woman. He continues to insult me and was angry because at the end of the ensemble in Aida I took a high E flat. The public went crazy, and Baum split with envy."


This is of course consistent with the famous high E flat she took in that scene. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who may know what the original Italian was in that letter. 




Peter Hammond



-----Original Message-----
From: David Kubiak <[log in to unmask]>
To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Fri, Jun 23, 2017 10:37 am
Subject: Question about Callas Letter

I am reading the book 'Callas On Callas', which prints her early letters to
Meneghini, who evidently released them to defend himself against some rather
nasty things she was saying about him after she took up with Onassis. 
Neither of them comes off very well, I thought -- he looking almost
consciously indifferent to her in the pictures and she in the letters with
the over the top lovey-dovey prattle to a man his age making plausible
suspicions of gold-digging.  But the contents are fascinating.  There is one
letter she writes about the famous Mexico City 'Aida' that is both very
funny and contains an expression I am hoping someone can explain.  

She says:  "Baum is worse than a jealous woman.  He never stops insulting
me.  And he is furious because at the end of 'Aida' I achieved a sharp flat.
 The audience was delirious and he shook with rage."

In another letter she uses this same phrase "to sharp a flat', leading me to
think it must be an Italian idiom, but one which I have never read or heard
before.

Thanks for any help.

David Kubiak

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