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Subject: Re: "The Maid of Orleans"
From: Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:33:47 +0000

text/plain (90 lines)

Personally, I think the major issue with Tchaikovsky's opera is that he 
was trying to create a French opera--a genre congenial neither to his 
talents nor to modern performance practice. The score is often wonderful 
but it is structured more as a pageant than a dramatic work, lacking the 
kind of forward momentum and drama found in his more successful works. 
If we still lived in a world more steeped in Meyerbeer we might evaluate 
the opera quite differently and be able better to judge the opera on its 
own terms.

The title role is a great one, though, and will continue to appeal to 
sopranos. It is a work that seems to succeed best as a star vehicle 
(assuming the ballets are dropped).

------ Original Message ------
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 2/14/2018 10:47:38 AM
Subject: Re: "The Maid of Orleans"

>Elizabeth W. Patton allegedly spouted:
>"Much of the music in this opera is uninspiring, as if Tchaikovsky had
>watered down his style for an international audience. By and large, the
>music consists of discouragingly long stretches of eminently 
>music and insipid dialogue, interspersed with stirring instrumental 
>and occasional moments of great beauty . . .
>I’d go so far as to say it’s largest problem is due to its libretto but 
>it’s hardly “forgettable.”  Still, Tchaikovsky remains, for many 
>musicologists, a lowbrow, object of derision, be it is symphonic 
>output, his
>operas; even Onegin comes in for ribbing . . . and how DARE they!
>Though not as familiar with it as I am “Onegin,” I’d daresay I find
>Tchaikovsky’s “The Maid…” to be the equal of “Onegin,” in its score.  
>the narrative suffers a bit, the music is compelling enough for it to 
>better known than it is.  From its opening bars through the fiery 
>finale, its
>themes course through its 3 ½ hours with the Tchaikovsky brand and it
>flows through solos, ensembles, choruses, stunning shifts in dynamics 
>charm.  I’d certainly forgive cutting some of the ballets which are 
>and stirring, but admit some feel as though possible left overs from 
>Nutcracker.”  The role of Joan is a tour de force, her major solo 
>in Act I comes mid-act and carries the rest with a scena that includes 
>of her best music, in solos, ensembles and two different choruses;
>villagers and angels.
>Freni championed Joan at career’s end, singing it in San Francisco and
>Washington, and possibly elsewhere.  Audiences love it, even if the 
>don’t.  I’d certainly prefer to see/hear it swapped out for one of the
>the “standards” at least every once in a while.
>From the Odyssey performance and broadcast, here is the prayer/hymn 
>ensemble from the first act.
>Uninspired, my eye.
>I'm happy to see so many posts on this this morning!  Vive The Maid!

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