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Subject: Re: Callas, quel palco funesto
From: "Robert E. Seletsky" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Robert E. Seletsky
Date:Sun, 27 Dec 1998 16:30:06 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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MF Lang wrote: "The translation of the phrase 'vendete quel
palco funesto' is a free translation of my own, not licensed by any
accredited translation authority or bearing the seal of approval of the
Dante Society. But, pace Sig, Petrova, Mme. Bond definitely quotes
"vendete' rather than 'vedete.' "

Dear M.F. Lang:

To be quite direct, it is immaterial whether or not Ms. Bond quotes
"vendete." It is simply inaccurate. Callas was far too serious an
artist to deliberately change the text in _Pirata_, or in any work--
certainly one by her beloved Bellini. Further, after a bad season with
Ghiringelli, to face his empty opera box as she intones "see ['vedete,' as
written], the fatal scaffold (box)" is far more powerful and logical than
changing the line to "sell ['vendete'] your fatal box (scaffold)"--
especially if she was addressing an *empty* opera box rather than its
usual occupant.  And I'm sorry, but "funesto" does not have any translation
as an explitive known to me. Further, all the sources with which I am
familiar remain faithful to the actual "vedete", so whatever Ms. Bond's
object here is beyond my comprehension; it may simply be an unfortunate
repetition of a specific erroneous source that Ms. Bond either found useful
for her literary purposes, or quoted in ignorance. And while it is true
that Callas might well have benefitted from some therapy during her
difficult life, the variety of posthumous pyschoanalysis that
you describe as being offered in the novel is far from helpful, either to
the late Mme. Callas or to music.

And just so you and Ms. Bond know, according to another member of Opera-L
who contacted me, Senor Gardel, the tanguero, died in 1935. It would be
difficult to conceive of any possible influence such a person could have
ever had on Callas. It's not even amusing.

Kindest regards,
Robert E. Seletsky

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