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Subject: Re: Otello in Pesaro
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 9 Aug 1998 10:17:04 EDT

text/plain (66 lines)

Dear Marco and list:

Marco's posting i
s fascinating, and brings out tremenddous agreement in me, and also strong
diagreement. I have not heard this Otello, but it is not necessary for me to
do so in order to be able to comment.


<< I was aking myself: why this Otello again? What is the choice for a remake
of this opera in Pesaro after the great succes some years ago with Merritt,
Blake, Anderson and the second cast Ford, Matteuzzi, Gasdia. Without Merrit
and Blake, the Rossini Opera Festival art direction seems to have discovered a
new couple of Rossini tenors, Ford and Kelly. And they seem to remake the same
operas that made so famous the duo, like Zelmira or Otello. But this is a very
dangerous choice, because the confrontation is obvious. Only few years passed
since the audience in Pesaro listened the two great tenors in the same part
with other  result. Merrit and Blake can be considered two of the greatest
tenor of this century. Their Otello was a mythus. >>>

Bravo, Marco, Bravo!!!! never have truer words been spoken. (Of course, they
only apply to such Rossini operas as Otello and Ermione). The performance was
supposedly recorded, but one of the artists--Anderson, perhaps-objected
because she was dissatisfied. What a crime. Now, I love Bruce Ford--he is one
of my great favorites. But, alas, Merritt he isn't--and neither is anybody
else. BTW--if there ever was a performance of the decade, that Otello had to
be it.

<< The second point is this. Somebody said the Rossini Opera Festival is in
crisis. This because after the good way of the critical editions that
discovered a new Rossini and a new way to sing it, there is not much more to
discover. The list of the forgotten Rossini treasures for critical editions is
ended. The festival can now only conserv this tradition repeating itself in
future. I do not belive this, and this Otello is a confirmation. The Otello
with Blake and Merrit was the "hart" of the Rossini Pesaro renaissance, after
the Ermione and before the Ricciardo. I remember in the theatre we were all so
enthusiast of the discovery of a new vocality that could make retire all the
abused voices like Alva, Montarsolo, Monti and so on. If a good artistical
production wants to remake a such important production, this must be of the
same level or for something new. So why not to propose the other version of
Otello, written for Maria Malibran, with a contralto for Otello and the
different end of the opera (the happy one)?  This could justify a remake of
Otello in a festival considered one of the most serious and competent of the
world. Merrit and Blake are not avaible? Why make Ford an Kelly give a prove
at the limit of sufficient? Why not engage Ewa Podles and with Devia give a
new historical Otello.>>

This thought fills me with dismay--a mezzo usurping a role written for tenor?
Horrors:>) :>) I would avoid it like the plague.

But, I do have an idea that would make the festival even more interesting:
Change it from a straight Rossini festival to a Rossini and his times
festival, do two Rossini operas each year, and one by his contemporaries.
Works like Pacini's Arabi nelle Gallie, Mercadante's and Carafa's Gabriella di
Vergy (two separate operas, both highly succesfull in their day), And there
are many more such operas, qualitatively probably on a very high plane, all
once extremely successfull, but now, alas--more or less forgotten. And not
just Pacini, mercadante and Carafa, but also Coccia, Ricci, Vaccai, and still


Tom Kaufman

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