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Subject: Re: L'amore dei tre re
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:45:09 -0400

text/plain (49 lines)

Washington Opera did a beautiful production by Beni Montressor back 
in the 1980s.  The production then went to City Opera, with some 
alterations of cast.  In DC we had Neblett – who was incredible as Fiora.  In 
New York, a pregnant Neblett alternated the role with Noelle Rogers.  
Samuel Ramey replaced Jerome Hines, but I believe the rest of the cast 
may have remained intact. 

Oddly, what sold like hot cakes in DC you couldn’t GIVE tickets away to in 
Manhattan.  I Donal Henahan’s less than enthusiastic review didn't help.   He
He complained about Montressor’s sets, Frank Corsaro’s staging, the 
implausibility of the plot (really . . . we're going "there?") and how 
Montemezzi was merely a craftsman, not a composer.   

Henahan’s joked about the ridiculousness of the idea of Archibaldo’s 
carrying Fiora’s corpse:  “The king, you remember, is blind.  This is the 
kind of thing directors do when they think the music is too weak to carry 
the day.”  Well, it isn’t in the libretto, but this bit of action was hardly new 
and had been part of most stagings for at least decades.  Sills, who sang 
the role in Philadelphia with Fernando Corena as Archibaldo told a 
humorous anecdote:

"Corena was a small man, and every night he had to pick me up and carry 
me  across the stage of the Philadelphia Academy of Music.  I really was 
skinny at the time--I have the photos to prove it--but I was still a big 
woman, and it was no picnic for Fernando to do all that shlepping.  For 
years afterward, whenever we saw each other--and no matter how fancy 
the reception might be--Fernando would grab his side as if he'd just 
developed a hernia and then mutter, 'Sills, it *hurts.'"

Here’s a photo of the “really skinny” Sills in the role . . . she really did look lovely!



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