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Subject: Re: Turandot
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 8 Nov 2017 13:20:59 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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There's no one I miss more these days than Joan Rivers; let me just
quote her; "Oh grow up!"  That's my reaction to your neo-Victorian
view of TURANDOT's libretto.

As to the music of the final scene, I have come to the conclusion that
Toscanini;s instinct was correct,  A few more minutes, than he saw fit
to cut, the aria "Del primo pianto", might be worth keeping, but as I
hear it, the great conductor was more attuned to Puccini's incomparable
mastery of knowing when enough is enough.  Never was he guilty of the
inconsequential meandering Alfano indulged in.  Though his choice of
the latter as a composer most likely to honor Puccini's style, was
indisputable, Toscanini also grasped that,  Puccini more than any
other composer, inevitably chose to leave an audience wanting more.

dtmk

dtmk

On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 10:03 AM, Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> I have to say that I consider Turandot by far the most horrifying opera in
> the canon--far more than Sweeney Todd (cannibalism and all). Turandot is a
> monster--which she wasn't in the earlier versions of the story--something
> that the work fails to realize. I do not care whether villains are punished
> in stories, but I do ask that their villainy be recognized, and not erased
> by pretty sets and crashing chords. Somehow, the ending of Turandot asks us
> to pretend that everything that happened before, including the torture and
> death of Liu (surely one of the most despicable scenes in opera) be somehow
> redeemed by the magic of "love." There is a misogyny and sadism present in
> much of Puccini's work that comes to full fruition in Turandot, but this
> central aspect of the opera is rarely noted. (I often wonder how Puccini
> would have set "Bluebeard's Castle.")
>
> Is there another opera or musical that so little merits its "happy
> ending"? I think the only way the work should reasonably be performed today
> is as some sort of Brechtian satire--which would be in keeping with its
> commedia del'arte origins.
>
> I do like much of the music, but hate myself for it.
>
> ------ Original Message ------
> From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: 11/7/2017 10:48:55 AM
> Subject: Re: Turandot
>
> Idia wrote (in part):
>>
>> “It's a masterpiece and I've often mused upon how the ending would have
>> been had Puccini
>> lived to finish it.”
>>
>> Of course we can never fully or really know, but I’ll put in my annual
>> damnation of Toscanini
>> for demanding Alfano shorten his original ending, which to this day is
>> still almost never
>> heard.  The complete Alfano ending really opens up the opera, makes more
>> than just “hash”
>> of the ending, and fleshes out the characters of Turandot and Calaf to be
>> slightly more than
>> the cardboard cartoon fairy tale characters.  Turandot’s “melting” makes
>> far more sense
>> when she’s given actual time to reflect and melt – and sing some lovely
>> music to, boot.
>>
>> Then there’s the case of the “end” of the finale – which, once heard
>> leaves the ending we
>> know feeling just a bit in the dust.  It is the definition of a “sonic
>> spectacular” – even the
>> orchestration is different, the crazy triple triplets (or whatever they
>> are) of the trumpets
>> adding even more luster and brilliance to what we typically hear.
>> Additionally, Alfano,
>> according to Puccini’s wishes, has Turandot and Calaf singing, their
>> voices rising - sailing
>> above the massed forces instead of the usual them just standing around
>> looking on in
>> silence.
>>
>> For those who still aren’t familiar with it . . . get a load of this!
>>
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q09_thEg6AA
>>
>> p.
>>  --------------------------------------------------
>>
>
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