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Subject: Re: CG Traviata/Roman/Angelica/Berkshire
From: "N. F. N. alrod" <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 7 Mar 1996 16:36:12 -0500
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I've gone on digest owing to the imminence of the Ides of April (tax-time, for
 our overseas listers), so here's a few comments bunched together.

COVENT GARDEN TRAVIATA
>     The casting of Gheorghiu and Alagna in "La Traviata" should be worth
>     some visual laughs:
>
>     Ms. Gheorghiu is VERY tall, 5'10" at least. Mr. Alagna, while
>     certainly a good match for Ms. G. in attractiveness, is only about
>     5'5". I hope he can walk in high heels!
>     Lee Nunley

Laugh away. I have read elsewhere that Ms. G and Mr. A. are "an item". If this
 is true then I salute him for having found those particular kinds of bliss that
 are only possible when the man is significantly shorter than the woman. Trust
 me.

STELLA ROMAN
>Roman also recorded a complete AIDA for Capitol in 1950, and this has
>apparently become quite a rarity...
>Jon Alan Conrad

Clough + Cummings list an Aida with Roman, S. Sawyer (ms), G. Sarri (t), A.M.
 Serra (br), V. Tatozzi (bs), with the Rome Opera under Paoletti. Also a
 Trovatore with Roman, Sawyer, Sarri and Serra, but Ricci conducting. If it's
 the same Luigi Ricci who wrote a standard collection of cadenzas and was famous
 as a vocal coach, the Trovatore should be the more interesting set. Sounds like
 a strenuous weekend or two (but no longer) at the opera house.

SUOR ANGELICA
>When she realizes
>her mistake, that her death will be the end of her hopes. And then comes
>the Madonna and arranges everything? I find that reading a bit unusual as
>a Puccini finale. Maybe there is a 2nd level of reading? It looks possible
>to me.

The only external factors I see as being possible to look for in Angelica are 1)
 his envy of the quiet life his sister led in the convent, which has nothing to
 do with his personal faith or lack of it, and 2) his unhappy marriage and
 lingering guilt over the suicide of the housemaid that casts such an
 unforgettable aura of mournfulness and self-loathing over Fanciulla.

The answer to the miracle at the end of Angelica is to be found, as always, in
 the music. When the Madonna appears and the little child walks towards Angelica
 while the offstage chorus chimes in, we have no choice but to take the miracle
 at face value, no matter what the stage director might think. That is the
 difference between opera and real life. Puccini may have been an unbeliever, we
 may be unbelievers, but the opera says that miracles happen.

BTW, some folks say that Regine Crespin was the greatest Tosca after Callas. If
 you're curious, you just might find some evidence of it somewhere.

Cheers,
Alrod
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