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Subject: Re: when is an aria not an aria? - was extra long musical introductions
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 2 Feb 2018 23:57:21 -0500
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Let's not get ridiculous. All of the aforementioned examples are arias, by form and by 
their overwhelming nature as solo pieces. It is crazy and a dissevice to say that a mere 
interjection of "si" renders an other wise long, vocally showy solo piece NOT an aria. 
Especially when it's always referred to, by singers, conductors, and audiences alike, as an 
aria. 

In the case of "Ah fors' e lui" - the (possibly original) Ricordi score says "scena ed aria." 
Scena, naturally, would refer to the orchestrally-accompanied recit - and then the rest is 
an aria, regardless of Alfredo's singing. 

In the Baroque era, "aria" was essentially defined by its A-B-A (da capo) form. When the 
cavatina/cabaletta form started appearing after that, were Baroque purists refusing to call 
such a construct an aria? (Legit question to which I don't know the answer.) And, of 
course, the cavatina/cabaletta form often involves more than one singer, often the choral 
ensemble. We always refer to these pieces (in toto - often which is recit, cavatina, 
transition, cabaletta, transition, cabaletta reprise) as arias. You can't tell me they're not. 
They are. 

Sometimes, Inez doen't sing the parts Verdi worte for her at the end of the cabaletta of 
"Tacea La Notte Placida." Are we really going to say that it's only an aria if she stays 
silent? (Or that it's not an aria because Verdi included that part for her regardless?) 
Ridiculous. 

The manuscript Ricordi score of I Puritani (available on IMSLP) refers to "A Te O Cara" as 
a "quartetto." ("Coro e quartetto" if you include the introduction, and of course their 
participation in what follows.) But just try telling a tenor, to his face, that it's not his aria. 
You'll get one hell of a fight, lol. 

Carmen (the title character of the opera, that is) has no arias? (Her solos all involve other 
singers.) Come on, folks...really??



On Fri, 2 Feb 2018 14:32:18 -0500, G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:

>Violetta's Act 1 ending scena, starting with "Eh strano!" then the aria that fo
>follows along with its ensuing cabaletta make for one of the greatest and mo
>most beloved (and performed) scenes in all of opera.  
>
>But wait . . . Alfredo has a reprise of his "amore" theme from earlier in the 
>act to which Violetta not only responds, but redoubles her belief in "sempre libera
>libera."  So, does this suddenly make it a duet?  Don't tell the soprano, she 
>may just blacken your eyes!
>
>p.
>
>* * * * * * 
>
>
>> But what about a few other pieces that we generally call arias but that
>> aren’t strictly solos? Two that come to mind, both by Puccini, are
>> “Recondita armonia” and “Addio, fiorito asil.” In the former the Sacristan
>> mumbles and grumbles about Mario’s impiety throughout and in the latter
>> Sharpless calls attention to Pinkerton’s repugnant treatment of Butterfly.
>>
>> So, are these arias? Are there other examples like them?
>>
>> Kurt Youngmann
>
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