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Subject: Re: Calaf the Hero (Was Re: Turandot)
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 10 Nov 2017 14:18:35 -0500
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He's hardly stupid. He's able to answer the 3 riddles, no? Something none of the men 
before him have done. And then he offers up one of his own to boot. AND, he wins 
Turandot over after she was ready to renege on the terms of her own challenge. 

I'd say he's pretty smart, for your average commedia hero. ;-)

Now, of course we could say that he might have been smarter to assess the whole 
situation in Act I, decide "I'm not having any of this nonsense," and he, his dad, and Liu 
could go off to a bucolic life free of riddles, beheadings, tortures, and ice princesses. Let 
alone no Nessun Dorma. ;-)

But then there'd be no opera to speak of. ;-)


On Fri, 10 Nov 2017 09:40:24 -0800, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>He’s not a villain. He’s just stupid.
>
>Max Paley
>
>Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On Nov 10, 2017, at 09:36, G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> Tom Frey wrote:
>> 
>> "[Calaf] is a true rectum who stands by while his servant girl is tortured till she 
commits 
>> suicide to protect his sorry butt."
>> 
>> * * * * *
>> 
>> 
>> I love Calaf.  No, he is not the most interesting operatic character, but fairy tale 
heroes, 
>> very rarely are,
>> 
>> Is Calaf any more of a cad or villain than, say Siegfried?  The chief purpose of each of 
these 
>> guys is to serve as heroic romantic figure to a damsel who is so much damaged 
goods; the 
>> first a wounded goddess stripped of her rank and immortality; the second a man-
eating ice 
>> princess.  Each "awakens" his woman with a rousing good duet, which in Turandot 
means 
>> peace is finally restored to a town most notable for its nightly executions and display 
of 
>> heads on spikes.  Even with the Prince of Persia's freshly decapitated noggin staring 
at him, 
>> Calaf enters and wins the challenge.  No, he may not be the brightest of boys, but his 
>> display of cojones is formidable  
>> 
>> It’s frequently asserted that Calaf treats Liu shabbily, but this just is not so.  
He’s never met 
>> her before today and “today” he learns she was a slave in his father’s court.  
Nonetheless, 
>> he’s touched by her, treats her tenderly, thanks her and asks her to continue 
watching over 
>> “he who smiles no more.”  “Non piangere Liu” and the sequence 
following up until the gong 
>> is one of the most sweeping, exciting scenes in opera.  
>> 
>> During Liu’s torture Calaf is restrained, the libretto states not only his hands, but 
his feet 
>> are bound (this is China, after all!) and yet people keep saying he should’ve done 
>> something.  I’m fairly certain even yelling out his own name in the heat of the 
moment, he 
>> would’ve sealed both their fates, kept the reign of blood going meaning Turandot 
would 
>> have never had her "primi pianti" to break, the fairy tale's curse.  
>> 
>> Again, I assert the complete Alfano ending is the only way to go, fleshing out the 
story 
>> giving the finale the breadth and breath it needs to make it to the finish line.
>> 
>> p.
>> 
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