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Subject: Re: Turandot
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Thu, 9 Nov 2017 09:46:38 -0500
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Max wrote (in part):

"What I’ve heard of the 'incomplete' Alfano hasn’t whetted my appetite to hear more. 
But then I heard no compelling music in Alfano’s 'Cyrano.'"

And this, Max is why there are so many flavors and so many choices.  I'd recommend 
listening to the link I previously posted with the complete ending, but I don't think that'd 
change your mind.  

As to "Cyrano" - I listen to it at leasta a couple of times a year, barely able to get through 
what I consider one of the most movingly romantic final scenes in 20th century opera.  
While I love "Sakuntala" with its Ravelian/Stravinsky soundscape, Cyrano is, for me, THE 
great transition operas of the early-mid 20th century.  Peter G. Davis called it “the ideal 
reconciliation between his early lyrical manner and later methods of creating a refined 
poetic atmosphere.  The music brilliantly evokes the play’s restless 17th century place and 
action, but the defining mood is one of aching regret for the unobtainable . . .”   There is 
one of the most fascinating love scenes in "modern" opera - brilliantly composed for the 
three principals, yet still very much in essence "a love duet."  

Ever since first hearing “Sakuntala” I have rarely listened to Turandot again without 
wondering how much influence the younger composer had over Puccini in his final opera.  
The palettes are so similar and Puccini began composing it the same year Sakuntala had 
premiered and been published.  While Toscanini and Puccini had chosen Zandonai to 
complete the opera, Puccini’s sons and the publisher Ricordi decided on Alfano because of 
the similarities of Sakuntala and the direction Puccini had taken his music.  

Donald and others who feel Toscanini made the right choice in hacking the finale in half are 
entitled to like what they like, but for me, the reality is painstaking effort of love Alfano put 
into putting together what Puccini had left behind must, in order to make any sense at all, 
be heard in its entirety. 

I can’t agree at all with Max’s assertion that the music “falls off a cliff” after the death of 
Liu.  I find what remains not only necessary, but compelling and frequently thrilling.  

Puccini clearly (and more than once) stated he wanted the voices of the two leads to soar 
over the massed ensemble, and Toscanini’s “solution” had the lines of Calaf and Turandot 
which could be included in what’s remains of the finale, removed entirely. I've always felt 
Toscanini, while claiming to pay respect to Puccini, seemed at least as interested in 
sabotaging the work of the composer he had no respect for and didn't choose.  We shall, I 
suppose, never know.

p.

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