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Subject: Re: [Norton AntiSpam]Re: Kaufmann's Otello
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Wed, 9 Aug 2017 14:39:59 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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Mr. Kane wrote:

"Well, at least you get my drift.  In travesties like MACBETH or IL 
TROVATORE, we just let the hilariously enjoyable music play out, but with 
OTELLO, Verdi takes the whole improbable thing much too seriously."

* * * * *

Verdi took “Otello”  –  one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies – too 
seriously?  How else should he have treated it.  "MacBeth: and "Il Trovatore
Trovatore", are travesties?  Maybe to some, but not to me, and millions of 
others who’ve loved these works.  

We limit ourselves and our capacity to fully appreciate works of art when 
we look at them only through a modern lens.  One needn’t look too far 
back in early American and European history to see that all of the plot 
devices, misunderstanding and incomprehensible horrors told in, 
say "Trovatore" would not only be believable to those earlier cultures, but 
seemingly well within the realm of possibilities to a good many.  This 
becomes especially true when considering a world dominated by religion, 
particularly a church which successfully kept the populace down on its 
heels through suffering, and ignorance lading to great misunderstandings 
of the unknown.  Toss in poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy and you’ve go
got a particularly unctuous stew.  

Stsicking with "Trovatore," we should remember Verdi’s partner was 
Cammarano, one of the most respected librettists in Italy, who provided 
Donizetto a number of great libretti for his major hits, e.g., “Lucia di 
Lammermoor,” “Roberto Devereux,” and “Poliuto.”  (He also co-wrote 
wrote “Luisa Miller”and “La battaglia di Legnano.”)  Verdi not only had 
great respect for Cammarano even listening to his musical suggestions.  
Tragically, Cammarano died after completing only two acts of "Trovatore's" 
libretto (talk about a curse!), whereupon Verdi hired Emanuele Bardare to 
complete the task.  In tribute to Cammarano, it was requested Bardare’s na
name not appear anywhere on the printed score or in any of the opera's ad
advertisements.  

A great man of the theatre, Cammarano was struck by Gutiérrez’ early 
19th century play “El trovador” hailed by critics and public as a revelation 
and which enjoyed an enormous success in its day.  It's still considered 
among the first and greatest of “modern” works that commented upon the 
corrupt irrationalities of rival political and social factions who sought 
complete control of their world.  To up the dramatic ante (so to speak) it's 
also a harsh commentary upon the blind rage vendettas that needlessly 
took so many lives – something we can certainly see still exists in today’s 
world.  Of course, Verdi would look to Gutiérrez once again when he 
musicalized another of his plays, “Simon Boccanegra.”  

I wouldn’t expect all of us to agree, but for many . . . including conductors, 
singers and producers, it remains great, enthralling Verdi and, when given 
an inspired cast, a truly grand night at the opera.  Travesty, my eye!

p.

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