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Subject: Re: When is an aria not an aria
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 3 Feb 2018 13:53:25 -0500
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Correct. I had the two arias mixed up. My apologies. 

But they are both arias. ;-)


On Sat, 3 Feb 2018 18:40:17 +0000, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>"Che gelida manina" is an aria, by your definition, by my definition
>and by the dictionary definition. In fact, at the mid point, he asks
>Mimi a question, "Shall I?" but she remains silent. It is a specific
>part of the stage instructions. He continues to the end without
>interruption.
>
>It is "Mi chiamano Mimi" that contains the now infamous "Si"
>uttered by Rodolfo.
>
>Bob
>
>On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 13:24 Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Part of my point in bringing up the gradual transition from "da capo" to
>> "cavatina/cabaletta" aria forms was to say that the substance of an aria
>> has changed over
>> the years. In baroque operas, I can't reality think of any examples of the
>> chorus being
>> involved in a da capo aria, but as the cavatina/cabaletta form developed
>> through the 19th
>> century, choral participation became more common - as did the occasional
>> participations
>> of other solo singers (often the "confidante" roles like the previously
>> mentioned Inez in
>> Trovatore, etc). By the time of Puccini, he was experimenting with other
>> ideas - what if a
>> character in, say, La Boheme could actually respond to a question posed in
>> another's aria?
>> What if another character, such as the Sacristan in Tosca, could be posing
>> asides in his
>> own very different solo writing, DURING (and, notably, continuing AFTER)
>> another's aria?
>> Could it simply be that the form of what we know to be an aria was
>> changing again, to
>> allow things previously not done? After all, art is so often about
>> breaking the "rules," and
>> in trying innovations, as much as it is about carrying on traditions.
>>
>> In my view, if it's clear that the thrust of the piece in question is a
>> solo, and is obviously
>> meant to showcase that particular singer, it's most likely an aria. It's
>> the nature of the
>> solo writing more than the small interjections by other characters, or the
>> involvement of
>> choral "backup" in my view. I can't fathom not thinking of "Caro Nome" as
>> an aria, even if
>> the courtiers have some music to sing at the very end. I can't see how
>> "Che Gelida
>> Manina" is not an aria just because Puccini allows Mimi to respond to a
>> question with one
>> word. I can't see how the Italian Tenor's solo in Rosenkavalier isn't an
>> aria, even if it
>> winds up in competition with (and eventual interruption due to) Ochs'
>> simultaneous
>> argument). (In fact, being a diegetic aria - that is, music literally sung
>> in context of the
>> story, Ochs' argument is a totally separate thing. But in Bob's definition
>> then, it's an aria
>> as presented to the Marschallin, but not an aria as heard by the opera
>> audience?? Do we
>> need to go that far?)
>>
>> I don't have the time to look up "aria" in MUSIC dictionaries at the
>> moment, but perhaps
>> they might have a more comprehensive definition. Maybe not. But I think
>> this is really an
>> issue of common sense, and in fact I'll relate it to the classic remark on
>> pornography by
>> Justice Potter Stewart, i.e. "I know it when I see it."
>>
>> I think common sense tells us that we know an aria when we hear it, even
>> if it may have
>> tangential participation from other singers. I don't think that it's a
>> question of vocal
>> *percentages* (as Bob offers in the quite below) - I think it's pretty
>> clear when the solo
>> singer is the main event (i.e. it's an aria) and when it's clearly meant
>> to be a more
>> equitable ensemble effort.
>>
>> And I think we need to give composers the benefit of the doubt in creating
>> arias that may
>> not fit the rigid expected definition. I don't know if documentation is
>> out there, but I
>> would tend to think he certainly considered "Che Gelida" an aria, etc. Why
>> wouldn't he? I
>> can't see him sitting there, writing in Mimi's "Si" and laughing
>> vindictively, saying "good -
>> now no one can correctly call this an aria - sorry, tenors..." That's just
>> ridiculous.
>>
>> Or basta. ;-)
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Sat, 3 Feb 2018 17:52:03 +0000, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> >Sorry, Kurt, I'm nowhere near finished.
>> >
>> >The definition is not "mine"; it is the technical and
>> >dictionary definition, for which I offered one example.
>> >An extreme example to be sure, but a correct one!
>> >
>> >For this I received the following - ridiculous, crazy and a
>> >disservice to the word "aria" as though that word had some
>> >intrinsic value greater than any other musical form. Let the
>> >pejoratives roll!
>> >
>> >I would ask anyone on this forum to tell me exactly when, in
>> >their opinion, an aria becomes a duet. Is it when each has
>> >50% of the music, 60-40, 90-10, when? I assure you that
>> >for every answer, though I suspect there will be few to none,
>> >there will be as many who will disagree, because it has no
>> >clinically correct answer. If two soloists participate, it is,
>> >at least by definition, a duet. That isn't going to change, no
>> >matter how loudly one may, metaphorically, scream or stamp
>> >feet.
>> >
>> >Scream and stamp away!
>> >
>> >Bob
>> >
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