Anyway, for now, I shall simply link to my Verdi-related articles of the past few months. Hope to be back at you next week with fresh and toothsome content.
Friends, it has been a rollicking few months! Over at my Callas blog, I posted about some recent articles.
Back at you soon, and VIVA VERDI!
Dear hearts, I am very sorry for the long silences around here! Spring allergies have knocked me for a loop this year, and the remedies, sadly, are worse than the ill. (“Non-drowsy” allergy meds may as well be sleeping pills for me.)
Anyway, this is an opportunity to dip into the Re-visioning Callas archives.
- First of all, I reviewed New York City Opera’s gripping production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte and caught some other shows around town.
- Listen to Maria Callas in La traviata (with more good stuff in the blog archives).
- Have you heard Callas in Il trovatore, c. 1950?
- I have posted many excerpts from Forza sung by Callas, at the main site and in the blog archives.
We are supposed to have cooler weather and rain next week, so pollen counts should be lower. Back at you then! Bon week-end !
The bicentennial is only TWENTY MONTHS AWAY, you bloody clowns! Bollocks to you all!
Mario Taliani, a former Parma city councillor, writes in ParmaDaily: “We all know that in little more than a year, on 10 October 2013, the bicentennial of the Maestro’s birth will take place but that as of now nothing truly fitting seems to have been organized to commemorate him in a ‘unique’ way, beyond ‘merely’ reviving his operas.”
(Notate bene: I, mlr, have no idea what the scare quotes are about.)
Taliani proposes moving Parma’s Verdi monument from its current location near the palazzo della Pilotta to a site near the train station or in piazzale Santa Croce, “in order to elevate the memory of Giuseppe Verdi once and for all.”
So wrote Arrigo Boito of his work with Verdi. Boito was born on 24 February 1842, and he died in 1918.
Boito’s marvelous writings about Verdi are quoted in many of this blog’s posts. While most scholars agree that we “owe” to the immensely tactful and patient Boito Verdi’s last operatic masterpieces, Otello and Falstaff (plus the Boccanegra revision), Boito’s reputation as a librettist has been on a downswing for several decades.
Gabriele Baldini compared Boito with the once-maligned Francesco Maria Piave:
The meeting with Piave was far more important to Verdi’s artistic formation than the one with Boito… and the reason for this is quite simple: working with Piave was Verdi’s first opportunity to work with himself… [Piave’s] libretti are in fact those best suited to Verdi’s music—even from a literary point of view they are much finer, in the sense of being better finished, than Boito’s—simply because, in detail as well as in general shape, Verdi himself composed them. Furthermore, Piave was undoubtedly much more intelligent than Boito in artistic matters. Boito was an artist and a man of letters, but he never fully understood Verdi and so continually tried to bend him towards his own ideas. Piave, with profound critical insight, immediately appreciated the situation, and simply let libretti fall into Verdi’s lap…
The great William Weaver published an invaluable volume for all Verdians: The Verdi–Boito Correspondence. Among very recent books about Verdi, Verdi’s Shakespeare: Men of the Theater by Garry Wills considers the Verdi and Boito relationship in depth.
In honor of Boito’s birthday, here are words and music by him: “Ave, Signor!” from Mefistofele (1868, rev. 1881 and several other times). Ildebrando d’Arcangelo is the Dark Lord, and Riccardo Muti conducts this 2005 performance from Ravenna.
Incidentally, if you click through and watch the video on YouTube, you can have fun wading through the heart-rending laments by the passatisti. I mean, for Pete’s sake, I saw and heard Samuel Ramey in this rôle at New York City Opera, San Francisco, and the Met; and he was wonderful; and why on earth should this keep anyone from enjoying the admirable D’Arcangelo?
I have not yet seen the DVD whose cover image you see at left.
Though Wainwright is one of my favorite singer-songwriters, I did not have high expectations for Prima Donna. In the event, I enjoyed it more than I had expected to and was especially impressed by New York City Opera’s beautiful production and the superb performances by the cast.
In case you have not heard it, here is the opera’s final aria, “Les feux d’artifice t’appellent,” sung by the composer.
Condensed version: Povero Verdi!
Read earlier posts about Aida. (There are quite a few posts, with quite a lot of fabulous singing by Tebaldi, Pertile, Callas, Domingo, and others.)
Be sure to visit YouTube, too, where you will find many selections from Aida sung by Leontyne Price, whose birthday we celebrate today.
Bon week-end à tous !
The presenter is nauseating, but the song “Verdi cries” by Natalie Merchant is interesting.
The man in 119 takes his tea alone.
Mornings we all rise to wireless Verdi cries.
I’m hearing opera through the door.
The souls of men and women, impassioned all.
Their voices climb and fall; battle trumpets call.
I fill the bath and climb inside, singing…
The rest of the lyric is here.