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Subject: Re: Stunned After Last Few Measures of an Opera
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 6 Dec 2018 09:48:37 -0500
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Aside from the damp hanky moments, the score of MADAMA BUTTERFLY
is generously adorned with spectacularly orchestrated  fragments of
"The Star Spangled Banner".  There may not be another American song
of  patriotic significance so ideally suited to Puccini's purposes, even
though it was not, at the time, our National Anthem, and wasn't officially
adopted, by Congress, until 1931.  I firmly believe that the opera owes much
of its popularity to the several sweeping climaxes that tune provides.  What
makes a genuinely tragic figure of Cio cio san is her infatuation not only
with Pinkerton the man, but with Pinkerton the American, and her dream of
becoming Americanized.  Only by accepting the true love of  Yamadori, could
there be a happy ending for her - and no opera for us.  What I'm trying to
get
at with all this, and I suspect that you might have the the musical and
dramatic
expertise either  to pursue or reject it, is the tonal clash I hear between
the
gorgeous "oriental" sounding Yamadori theme, and the strains of our
"anthem",
which might give a clue as to what that stunning final discord means.

And, incidentally, I'm wondering if anyone knows where I can read an
account of
how the Congressional decision of 1931 came about.  Google only gives
copious
references to the song's history.

dtmk



On Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 2:36 PM Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> The first time I heard Butterfly as a youngster (maybe 12 or 13 at this
> point) just starting
> to get into opera, it was via a recording (it may have been the 2nd De Los
> Angeles one,
> but I'm not positive about that). I knew the basic plot, and knew what the
> ending would
> be, but nothing prepared me for the sheer musical wallop of Butterfly's
> final aria to her
> son, etc. I will admit that I found myself crying afterward - not just
> shedding a few tears,
> but a full-on real hard crying spell which truly surprised me at that age.
> That final scene
> still has the power to move me so much, even if maybe I'm not quite as
> spooked by it as
> I was that first time. But in particular, even knowing full well what goes
> into the craft of
> being an actor/singer and having to deal with dramatic moments of raw,
> enormously
> heightened emotions without letting it get too personally "hot," I always
> marvel in
> particular at sopranos who are real-life mothers, especially mothers with
> younger children
> - how difficult must it be to have to sing this scene without falling
> apart?
>
>
>
>
> On Tue, 4 Dec 2018 13:22:46 -0500, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> >The ending of MADAMA
> >BUTTERFLY...the more I think
> >about it, continues to be uniquely qualified in its power to stun,
> >in an almost literate definition of the word.
>
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