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Subject: Re: Suor Angelica
From: Frank Drake <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 8 Mar 1996 08:51:25 -0600
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On Fri, 8 Mar 1996, Pierre M. Bellemare wrote:

> In conclusion, what are we to make of that miracle? What does it mean? IMHO,
> the meaning is very clear to anyone who accepts to  be game and "believe in
> miracles" for the duration of that short climactic scene. Angelica's
> vision is true in the sense that she is truly being forgiven. What she
> sees in her vision is what will happening be happening to her in heaven
> or may already be happening to her, because, for all we know, she might
> already be dead and this might be a terrestrial vision of her coming in
> paradise.
>
> In that perspective, it will be noted that the curtain drops just as she is
> being reunited with her child. If Giovanni is right, and Puccini's
> intention was to make us aware of the combined influence of religious
> delusions and datura poisoning in early 17th century Italy, he might have
> made things much clearer by going farther and showing us the poor girl
> dropping dead to the ground with the hallucination disappearing suddenly
> at the same time - leaving the stage dark and empty. THAT would have been
> a most bizarre ending for a Puccini opera!...
>
Giovanni, is of course entitled to his view of the ending of Suor
Angelica, as was Ponelle in staging FLying Dutchman as the Steersman's
dream.  I wouldn't be surprised if some stage director would produce Suor
Angelica along the lines decribed by Giovanni, but IMHO it would be a
"different" Suor Angelica than what was originally intended.

As for un-Puccinian endings: how about Gianni Schicchi with its spoken
monolog at the end.  Where else do you find THAT in Puccini?  So there's
nothing unusual in finding a somewhat different than usual ending to Suor
Angelica.  I mena, how delightful that Puccini has three different types
of endings for the three operas.  Sure helps keep boredom at bay.

As for the "interminable" opening pages (half) of the opera: it is not so
tiresome if one is hearing the opera in ones own language; this is a case
where even surtitles might not be particularly effective, since the
dialog really does move along at a conversational rate.  Having seen the
opera in a workshop production in English, I had very little trouble with
the first half of the opera.  Seeing it in Italian was not as easy to
follow, even with subtitles on TV.

FRANCO di CHICAGO

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