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Subject: Re: Offstage instruments
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:46:16 -0400

text/plain (52 lines)

While “Traviata” was brought up, I don’t think I saw mention of the use of 
the banda and chorus in Act 3 when Violetta (and we) hear the Coro di 
Machere singing the baccanale “Largo al quadrupede sir della festa . . . “

Sticking with Verdi, in “Falstaff,” Alice plays a lute, which is usually played 
by an offstage guitarist . . . I’d love to see a lutenist soprano take on the 
role, though! 

There is a surprisingly large number f offstage musical effects in non-
operatic music, including Strauss tone poem “Ein Heldenleben” and 
his “Alpine Symphony.”

In “Les Troyens”Berlioz uses a battery of instruments for an 
offstage “fanfare” of haunting effect.  

Saint-Saëns makes use of an offstage military band in his too little 
performed “Henry VIII.”

Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (as opposed to 
his "Marinade for Horny Tenor and Winds") has a horn solo played offstage (t
(the reprise of the prologue).

Elgar’s “The Apostles” has a pair of oboes and an English horn playing from 

Massenet’s “Herodiade” has an entire chamber orchestra playing from 
offstage, and in his “La Navarraise” there is a wild banda of (mostly) 
percussion instruments.  In “Thais” there is a small wordless chorus to be 
sung from the pit, but I believe whenever I’ve seen this opera, the chorus 
has sung from offstage, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on that.  

Strauss’ “Elektra” has the entire chorus singing from offstage for a thrilling 
effect, while Debussy does the same thing in “Pelleas et Melisande.”  

In “Maid of Orleans” – which I, and at least a few other listers are seeing in 
Boston this Saturday, Tchaikovsky has an offstage ensemble comprised of 
a wind band and trumpets.  


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