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Subject: Re: When is an aria not an aria
From: tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 3 Feb 2018 19:25:01 +0000
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Why care what the dictionary says about what an aria is? Are they operatic experts? Mi chiamano Mimi IS and aria, by any realistic operatic standards.


________________________________
From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, February 3, 2018 1:40 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] When is an aria not an aria

"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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