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Subject: Re: not an aria, a horror show...
From: "Michael E. Lane" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Michael E. Lane
Date:Sat, 3 Feb 2018 15:23:16 -0500
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My spouse just asked me what language the tenor was singing in! After the truly disgraceful “ah si ben mío” I put on Mr. Bjorling so he might get a sense of what the aria is all about.....a great Azucena cannot pull this performance from mediocrity....

Sent from my iPad

> On Feb 3, 2018, at 3:07 PM, A Katalin Mitchell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I don’t listen any more... turn off during intermission; but for this performance I wish I could just turn off the whole thing... it is awful!
> 
> On 2/3/18, 2:20 PM, "Discussion of opera and related issues on behalf of Paul Ricchi" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>    To me, Siff and Heath often sound like they are hosting a show for adolescents.
> 
>    Sent from my iPhone
> 
>> On Feb 3, 2018, at 2:14 PM, robert levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> Wit til you the "D'amor sull'ali rosée," which I heard live Tuesday night.
>> Drabbest singing in history from Rowley. Lee is all squillo. So this is
>> what Opera in Darmstadt sounds like.
>> Anita is dynamite.
>> Bob L
>> 
>> On Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 2:05 PM, A Katalin Mitchell <
>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>>> Is anyone listening to Trovatore? I just heard the most hideous Il
>>> Balen... of my life.... what is with this company if they cant even cast a
>>> decent Luna?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On 2/3/18, 1:53 PM, "Discussion of opera and related issues on behalf of
>>> Jon Goldberg" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of [log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>   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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