It suggests primarily a woman of rational disposition, a mature character, not a flighty soprano. Finally, her character personifies godly wisdom, unconditional, and sacrificial love, which are key themes in this opera. Accessed March 15, This theme is explored by Letellier. See also Matthias Brzoska. Stanley Sadie New York: Macmillan, Therefore, the singer must take care to guard against both vocal and physical fatigue. This is a role that belongs to the be! Finally, based on the musical analysis conducted, with some of the hannonic complexities and intricate vocal lines, this role can be considered vocally and musically difficult, but not insurmountable.
She is a complex character drawn from nineteenth century Moravian peasant culture and village life. I have included her in this investigation of the roles ofmothers in opera in order to determine whether, as a stepmother, and as a representative of a turn-of- the- century Central European culture, she fits the general archetype ofmothers in the broad er perspective of operatic characters examined here.
The second involved a woman who helped her stepdaughter throw her illegi timate baby into the sewer. I will refer to KosteInika as stepmother. Plot Summary The Buryja family tree begins with the old, widowed Grandmother Buryjovka, whose two Sons are both deceased before the opera begins. Therefore, KosteInika is a stepmother to Jenilfa. The two half-brothers are at odds because Steva, who is good- looking but irresponsible, has just inherited the valuable mill, and because ofwealth may be able to buy his way out of the army. Laca received only a minor inheritance from his step father, and is forced to work at the mill.
Further, he is hopelessly in love with Jenilfa, and on returning from his own conscription learns that Jenifa has become engaged to Steva. The mill Foreman and Laca are also heard in conversation, with Laca hoping that Steva will be drafted, and the Foreman relating that he has been exempted. Steva arrives intoxicated with a group of recruits and musicians who continue their celebration.
When Laca arrives, Kostelnika is frantic with worry and tells him everything. Telling Jemifa that Steva has rejected her, Kostelnika advises her to marry Laca. Guests who begin to arrive include the mayor and his wife, Steva and Karolka, and some of the village girls, who have come to sing a wedding song to Jenfifa.
As Kostelnika is about to give her formal blessings to the marriage, a commotion is heard outside. Before she is arrested and led away, Kostelnika begs for forgiveness from Jemifa, admitting that she loved herself more than her stepdaughter. Alone, JenCifa tries to dissuade Laca from marrying her, but he remains firm. The opera draws to a close as Laca and Jeniifa pledge to meet the future together. Anoth er possible reason cited as a cause for this break is that he may have been rethinking his approach to composing opera.
In March of , while in St. The most significant revisions that would speed up the drama were made for the —07 production, before the publishing of the vocal score. In fact, it did not reappear in printed score until after , and was not included in productions of the opera until after Taken from his autobiography of A thorough account of the details of the revisions and cuts can be found in the pre face to the orchestral and vocal score. Scholarly research, including that by John Tyrrell and Charles Mackerras, was conducted of the existing orchestral parts of , and the original version of the opera was restored as much as possible.
Universal Editions issued a Kovatovic version in Since the UE edition of , the Act I aria has been included. There has been much debate as to whether the Act I aria was dropped 67 It would take nine invitations before Kovafovic would attend a Brno performance of the opera, and it was only through the persistence of colleagues and friends that the opera was finally produced in Prague ml The opera has three generations ofwomen giving advice to each other.
As Michael Ewans points out, these are suffering women who are centre stage and more significant than the male characters of the operas. A younger female for example, is the primary lead and considered the heroine. She is contrasted with an equally significant older woman character that is authoritarian and harsh. Michael Ewans discusses this in more detail.
Moreover, as mother characters they illustrate the nineteenth-century Czech proclivity for choosing wives and mothers over husbands and fathers as dominant and influential operatic characters.
An examination of the concept of speech melody is important to this investigation and analysis of the character ofKostelnika. These are , , , , See John Tyrrell, Years ofa Speech melody entails expressions of human speech that are notated in musical tenns. For example, when ending a sentence that is a question, there is a natural tendency to inflect the end of the sentence upwards.
Word stress, and syllable length and stress, are also a factor. If the reader practices speaking this sentence several times with different intonations, it will become apparent that meaning changes with each different inflection. It is almost impossible to speak this sentence with intent on a single monotone pitch.
Infusing our speech with energy will naturally produce speech inflection that raises or lowers as we communicate our intent. In studying the difference between the singing and speaking voice, it is obvious that the range in speaking is far more limited in pitch range than in singing. The pitch range we speak in a normal voice lies generally within a range of a perfect fourth or fifth interval, which corresponds to my example above. However, during excited speech, spoken pitch range can exceed that of an octave, particularly in female voices.
See Chapter 10 for a detailed analysis of speaking voice function, including assessment and correction. According to his studies, an untrained singer can often sing an octave and a fifth in chest voice. Mathilde Marchesi felt the highest note sung in chest voice should be E5 or F65 for females. Metuchen, N. Chapter He did not quote them directly. They show us the fool and the wise one, the sleepy and the wakeful, the tired and the nimble; they show us the child and the old one, morning and evening, light and darkness, scorching heat and frost, loneliness and company.
Y: Pendragon Press, , What does it matter! Th to irme bu de -. Of interest also, are the minor and diminished intervals that occur as a result ofher vocal inflection, the difference in speed between the delivery of the 4. In one study of , twenty-three actors of various nationalities were asked to express eight different emotional states that included neutral, love, joy, sorrow, fear, solemnity, comedy, irony, sorrow, and fear, by reading a single sentence.
Important to the study is that the contours of these emotions could be scientifically analyzed by measuring the phonation frequency, amplitude, and spectra of the speaker. On examination, regardless ofnationality which included a group of Czech students , the mean phonation frequency ofjoy was raised, while it was lowered in sorrow, and intermediate in the neutral mode. Statistically, according to Sundberg, the findings resulted in sadness showing the lowest average phona tion frequency, the neutral state and fear being higher, and anger, the highest. As already noted, the detailed information included with each of his examples, plus his intuitive interpretation of speaker and speech, are an indication of how intricate his operatic characters are constructed.
Different studies were conducted in , , and Sundberg See p.
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Thus instead of the usual arias he used these [speech] melodies. She is educated and has endured an abusive marriage. See, Barbara Day, trans. See also scene 3 of act 1 of the play. Further, in her stature as the sacristan, she sets the example for the strict moral principles of her society. Gradually, her plea becomes more assertive, forbidding Jeniifa to marry teva unless he proves that he can stay away from alcohol for an entire year. I have included the middle section in my analysis not only because it belongs to the most recent scholarly edition of the opera, but also, and especially, because it helps to flesh out her personality and provides perspective and rationale for her opposition to teva.
The aria is through-composed, but both musically and dramatically it falls into several shorter subsections that can be divided into three larger groupings: the first from R. Their silent reaction provides a counterpoint to the third act, where on the contrary, the villagers react with horrified cries when she admits to the murder of the baby. Section A R. Her entrance and interruption of the merriment of teva and the recruits are an over-reaction to the dancing and celebration.
However, the tonality gets a strong modal character through the emphasized raised sixth degree of the scale F natural suggesting the Dorian mode. Musically, this short section plays an introductory role, as in addition to establishing the tonality, it introduces one of the most important motives see ex.
This opening section is punctuated by short vocal melodic phrases, one or two measures in length that are fitted to the text. The short motives are related to the language. Czech words are generally accented on the first syllable, sometimes lengthened on the second syllable, therefore leaving the final syllable short and weak. This is a straight-forward no-nonsense type of declamation, whose harshness and intonation in monodrone denote a tragic urgency.
Czech coach. The speech accents of this motive highlight the sarcastic dig directed to teva that carries with it some punch. By association, it also includes the recruits as they are privy to her sweeping outburst. Vocally, it occurs at the upper end of the chest register for the voice, creating strident vocal declamation. This is a recurring motive that will be heard both in the voice and in the orchestra in the following B section and will be described further there.
It is this commonality of declamation that unifies the style of the entire aria.
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This is a clear example of speech melody as the accentuation and rhythm of the music follow the patterns of the Czech language. This is the development section of the aria, both dramatically and musically. This is followed by a long ambiguous section at R. The speech melody motive described above ex. The melodic contour and the pitches are identical as shown in the example, but the rhythm has been slightly altered to fit the new text at R 3 — 5 see ex. Here each note of the motive is an eighth note, but the strong accents over the first four notes change the rhythm to a duple rather than triple one.
The motive is continued by transposition and sequenced, heard both in winds and low strings, with the final note over lapping the beginning of the next repetition. The melodic contour has similarities to example 4. Here the clarinets and bassoon support the voice, while the cellos repeat the 4. Significantly, this motive is taken up by the orchestra; Koste1nika does not repeat it. Her vocal line returns to an increasingly more obsessive, single-pitched monodrone declamation, and a melody that is a variation of the strident 4.
Motive 4. These words are sung between tenors and baritones, and then baritones and basses, each voice interjecting before the other has finished. Ewans also makes reference to this. I 00 88 With this analysis I have shown the continuity that flows from one section to another and also the musical motives which connect the B section to A and C. The obsessive mono- drone pitched phrases in the B section in fact strengthen the moral rigidity ofher character, and the jagged speech melodies with their modality and often high vocal tessitura intensify the severity of her experiences.
This aria requires a dramatic vocal timbre, in order that the assertive repetitions sound like a reinforcement of orders that brook no further objections. She is confronted with her own moral dilemma and the cultural traditions whose rigid social values have defmed her life and her position as a sacristan. Chastity before marriage was an important traditional aspect of a religious peasant community. While pre-marital sex was forbidden, the courtship practice of bundling was a legitimized arrangement where young men and women could explore their sexuality, but without actual intercourse.
As Christine Worobec states, Intimate encounters. Bundling customs were furthermore the ultimate traditional expression of the double standard. Only a girl who controlled her temptress impulses and refused to give sexual favors was worthy ofmarriage. The public disgrace and stigma pronounced on the girl was rarely the same for the father of the child. The pretense in her lie is justified by the rationalization that she has saved them both from ridicule and shame. She quotes, Christine D. She notes that transgressing sexual norms, women were judged harshly, publicly shamed in various ways, for example, tarring the gates of the home of the unchaste girl.
Turning to the sharp side from Cb is indicative of heightened agitation which is expressed by orchestral tutti tremolo. The theme returns again at R. Ale bude beat, bude domrzat! Taken from Leo. Ewans covers this in some detail. It is only while she is reduced to begging on her knees that her music briefly takes on a more lyrical quality. Act II scene 5. Whipped into irrationality through her hatred of teva and the baby, Kostelnika has become an anguished, guilt-ridden woman. The aria is through-composed, and its tonality ranges from both minor and major modes, inclusive of passages of unresolved chordal progressions, and melodic material that uses both whole tone and octatonic material to create modal sounding melodies.
The first section, A, is comprised of the first thirty-one measures to the end ofR. Harmonically, the predominant tonal areas of the aria can be identified according to the sections. What if I took the child off somewhere? These occur from R. The opening tremolo in the strings is reinforced by the winds from R.
Melodically, the vocal line combines local tonal allusions with pitches moving in half and whole tones, occasionally suggesting octatonic formations, while the accompaniment tremolos are formulaic without anchoring a stable tonal reference. C major7 harmony. The B section of Co Chvila begins at R. Harmonically, this section is dominated by G major — D major6. It will be swifter and better! God will surely take him; he is too young to have sinned yet! The pitch range between the instruments is also quite wide; the low strings go as low as F2, two and a half octaves below middle C, while the flutes reach a range ofGb6 intensifying the drama.
The voice gradually reaches a maximum of tension by rising to higher and higher registers, culminating with a climactic moment on high Bb5 R. Bude to krati a 1ehi! This section begins at R. The orchestra responds in a flurry of activity, as the descending motive ex. The other observations about the key of C are my own.
Just look at her! Mine the punish ment! Without the inclusion of the 75 mm. In the speech melodies discussed, the motivic material often unfolds in whole tones and half-steps, in dissonant successions, and her phrases are short and clipped. Perhaps some can almost speak. Unlike the German folktale move ment, the Czech movement sought to create new literature, rather than simply document and edit tales.
See also John Tyrrell, Czech Opera, Patrick de Rocher, the mother of Joseph De Rocher, a convicted criminal on death row. Patrick De Rocher. A teenaged couple is enjoying a romantic tryst. Joseph and Anthony De Rocher, two brothers who have been watching from the shadows, shatter this tranquil moment and a violent and grisly crime unfolds. The young woman is raped and both teens are brutally murdered. The brothers are both convicted of the crime, but Anthony is sentenced to life in prison whereas Joseph receives the death penalty.
Joseph ofMedaille and other Sisters, work with the children from the families in a poor neighborhood outside ofNew Orleans. Sister Helen has become a pen pal to Joseph De Rocher. Joseph is somewhat aggressive and irritable on meeting Sister Helen, but when he asks, she agrees to become his spiritual adviser. Sister Helen accompanies Mrs. Following the hearing the parents of the victims, Owen and Kitty Hart and Howard and Jade Boucher confront Sister Helen, offended by her continued comfort and advocacy for the monster who murdered their children, challenging her lack of support for them. Sister Helen returns to the death row and tries to get Joseph to confess his guilt, but he is remorseless.
Overwhelming Stage direction in the score. As the reality of execution sets in Joseph is confronted by his past, but, nervous and agitated, remains defiant. At the same time Sister Helen experiences a nightmare during which she cries out as she sees the murdered teens. Sister Rose, who has heard her scream, comforts her but also challenges her that she must first fmd her own forgiveness and love for Joseph before she can help him. The fmal scenes take place on the date of execution.
Sister Helen and Joseph fmd some mutual interests and she also continues to urge Joseph toward acknowledgement of his guilt and reconciliation. The parents of the murdered teens arrive to witness the execution. Again, their conflicted thoughts surface, but Owen Hart shares some of his pain with Sister Helen and asks her to visit him. Just before midnight, after Joseph has been prepared for his execution, Sister Helen tells him that she has driven to the crime scene, but wants to visualize it through his eyes.
She asks him to describe the events of that night. Joseph does so and is fmally able to fmd his way to forgiveness, love, and redemption. Sister Helen assures him that he is now a son ofGod and that she will be the face of Christ and of love for him. Joseph is strapped to the gurney and only the sounds of the injections and his heartbeat are heard until the execution is over.
He will gather us around. By and by, you and I, all around Him, all around Him. All around Him. Gather us around. It was commissioned by Lotfi Mansouri the director of San Francisco Opera, and at the premiere, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham sang the role of Sister Helen Prejean, baritone John Packard portrayed the condemned convict Joseph de Rocher, and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade sang the role of his mother, Mrs. Patrick de Rocher. While few new operas have enjoyed repeated productions due to the expense of staging opera and the risk of poor box office sales, DeadMan Walking has been produced by a number ofAmerican opera companies and received several premieres outside ofUSA, including Canada Calgary, , Germany Dresden, , Scandinavia Copenhagen, , Austria Vienna, , and Australia Sydney, A new production was mounted in Nebraska Lincoln in , and several others are projected for in US and Europe.
Unlike the two real convicts Elmo Patrick Sonnier and Robert Lee Willie who were subjected to electrocution, Joseph dies by lethal injection as does Poncelet in the movie. With the exception of Sister Helen Prejean, the cast, including Mrs. Patrick De Rocher with her sons, are fictitious characters but drawn from the various accounts of actual persons written about in the book.
It shows some of the influences that American opera is noted for see below. For example, McNally and Heggie have drawn characters from American life, and Heggie also includes short dialogue, in addition to recitative at moments where he feels it is important this will be shown below. The movie does not open with a depiction of the crime and keeps the audience in suspense until the end when the crime is revealed.
Among these she mentions choice of subjects which not only tend to reflect back on the American people, their history and their culture, but also show a proclivity toward verismo. Moreover the influence of melodramatic techniques that enhance and move the dramaturgy forward are also evident in American opera.
Kurt Weill and Mark Blitzstein are examples. Further, American literature and motion pictures also provided inspiration for opera and shaped its overall sound and temperament. Together with name recognition due to the success of the movie, this might suggest that the opera is about the death penalty. However, on reading the libretto and hearing the music, it is evident that the opera is concerned with far more than that. The central issue is these two people who are finding how love can transform and transcend and redeem their lives.
It helps us journey into the deepest places of our hearts where we struggle with hurts and forgiveness, with guilt for our failings and the need for redemption. It has been performed and studied less. In writing the music for the opera in general, Heggie considered the psychology of the characters. In the award winning documentary on PBS he was noted as saying, I got to know these characters so well and got to know the psychology behind why they do what they do so clearly that by the time I started writing their music, the sounds they make were very, very, clear to me.
By the time Terrence finished the first act, I had a really good idea of what I was going to do. And so the responsibility of the composer is to find the music that that person would sing. Not the music that I necessarily want them to sing but the music that honestly I believe they would sing. Further, his knowledge of the voice has affected the lyricism in his compositions, creating music that is very accessible.
It has a musical line, but it is very much like the spoken line. University ofNorthern Colorado, As he explains: Harmony is about emotional color, about psychology. All of that will be determined by the impetus for singing and the moment, the dramatic line. For me, everything is the service to the drama, every thing. Chromaticism is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It serves the dramatic elements.
In addition, he connects the character with the drama, by using motives that appear throughout in various guises including rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic. Each of these different styles is, most of the time, associated with respective characters, contributing to emphasize some aspect of their personality. Particularly, in the music ofMrs. Patrick De Rocher, elements of jazz and blues are present. Heggie frequently bases his harmony on seventh chords with upper extensions of 9ths, 11 ths, or 1 3ths, using flats or sharps on these scale degrees at times.
Similarly, the third or fifth intervals above the root are also lowered. He also uses cluster chords or chromaticism to express the text and heighten the drama. Another influence is spoken prose text, a musical theater element used simply as a way ofmoving the drama forward more effectively than if it was sung.
Heggie uses this judiciously during moments when silence increases the mounting tension in the scene. Act I, scene 7 for Mrs. Patrick De Rocher is an example. Heggie does use recitative shorter, more declamatory sections in his vocal writing , but an important feature of his musical style is his use of arioso, which has characteristics of a recitative, but also, has a lyrical flowing quality to it.
An important musical form in the opera genre, Heggie uses this form with care. Patrick De Rocher, have each been given an aria. The lyrical lines and closed form of the aria style is suggestive of a moment of reflection rather than moving the dramaturgy forward. The remainder of their music is written in recitative or arioso style. It is obvious that consideration must be given to the range that encompasses the particular voice type chosen for the character.
Human suf fering has existed since the beginning of time. Patrick De Rocher, the focus of this chapter, is portrayed as a real person on her own unique and difficult journey. She is a woman with two of her sons in prison, one who is to be executed for murder, and the second incarcerated for life. We are told this woman was poor. Patrick De Rocher did not have the means to support the kind of defense that would have seen her son receive life imprisonment over the death penalty. Thus this woman is doubly damned. In the eyes of society she is seen as the mother of a monster who has committed a horrific crime, punishable by death according to law, and in her own eyes she has failed in her role as his mother despite the fact that she loves her son.
You feel you have no real value anymore. And the guilt! Nobody knew who I was. Patrick De Rocher is thus a victim of the society she lives in and, as adequately described in the opera, is disadvantaged particularly because she lives in the South, which was more backward due to poverty, and more conservative. The very fact that she is only identified through the name of her husband underlines her rather subordinate social position. Her husband had to do that. She was given a place in society only through her husband.
Complete to Supplement No. 84J.
She is portrayed as a poor and disadvantaged woman trapped by patriarchal societal values, and as a result, she is psychologically incapable of being a nurturing mother and role model to her children. It is Sister Helen, a woman never having borne children, who, in her role as spiritual adviser, becomes the mother to Joseph that his own birth mother could not be. The Music ofMrs. Also present are Mrs. The audience is addressed as if it were the hearing committee.
Her only and most powerful means of persuasion is her love for her son, reflected in the emphasis of his human qualities, and in her plea that his death is not going to change any thing about the admittedly horrifying deeds he committed. The scene lasts over eight minutes and consists of a lengthy monologue during which the vocal styles consist of spoken text, declamatory recitative, and arioso. There are two major sections to this scene. Section I, begins at m. De Rocher has been announced and she enters with her sons, and continues until her speech is abruptly inter rupted by the angry intervention of Owen Hart the father of one of the murdered teens at m.
Section II, begins at m. This is where the interruption of the enraged father occurs mm. Finally, the last subsection lie mm. The stop in music draws immediate attention and focus to the character ofMrs. Dc Rocher who enters, together with her two other sons, both in their teens. According to the stage directions, it is obvious that they are poor.
The introductory opening music exs. It briefly becomes passionate at mm. In the Prelude this music is scored for tutti orchestra and aforte dynamic, and the similarity to mm. However, in this scene it is played only by bass clarinets and bassoons in apianissimo dynamic, the plaintive timbre and overtones of these instruments and soft dynamic suggestive ofMrs. As well, the clarinets and bassoons play dissonant dyads that move by half steps, similar to the motivic material ofmm.
These various tonal centers attest to the fact that Mrs. Patrick De Rocher is insecure in this unfamiliar and frightening situation as she comes face to face with the Pardon Committee. The motivic material such as the chromatic half-step rise ofF I F in m.
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Further on in the scene, Heggie passes the motive to various instruments, sometimes oboes m. However, the rest of the introduction features further changes of texture, including full measure, silent fermatas accompanying Mrs. There are pedal tones on F, then on E, over which the violas play new motivic material consisting of oscillating dyads of open fifths and a dissonant major second mm.
The plaintive motive and the oscillating dyads are significant in that they return often in this scene and clearly illustrate the terror Mrs. De Rocher feels at the thought of speaking to this committee, and being in the public eye. This fear is evident in that when about to begin speaking, she is unable to utter words, and instead, her older son who sees her fear, interjects to ask whether she is airight sung. Do you all ask me questions, or do Ijust talk?
Sister Helen helped me write something. My eyes. Then there is that total lack of control she has in bargaining with strangers. This introduction ushers in Mt. In part due to fear, Mrs. De Rocher speaks in simple, short sentences, but these also show that she is a woman with only a basic education. This is noticeable in her usage of English grammar in her first spoken words and also briefly at m. Musically, the phrase structure fits the short sentences which are most often two measures in length.
Heggie separates the short musical phrases with rests, and marks unnecessary breaths into the score, both indicative ofher emotional state. Aside from the intro ductory F 97 chord, Ivirs. De Rocher delivers her first sentence in silence. This is followed by an accompaniment of two measures with the same motivic dyads ofmm. Heggie alternates this ambiguous F harmony the chords become sustained with the quasi-A minor 64 harmony every two measures.
Another example of emotional distress is heard in mm. Here bass clarinets and bassoons are first to accompany the voice.
Their timbre, plaintive support, the suspensions, or at times the flat ninth in the seventh-chords, are indicative of her emotional state. A more prolonged arioso begins at measure section Ib , and continues at m. This change is also an emotional change as the oscillating motive from the previous bars is accelerated from quarter note value to eighth note value. The dynamic also is pianissimo.
Harmonically, the A section Tb of the arioso mm. Melodically, this section becomes very lyrical. She also refers to him by his shortened name, Joe, a form ofpersonal endearment and familiarity see ex. Helen flr r I Jo seph de Ro -cher. De Rocher does not get to finish because she is interrupted by the outburst from Owen Hart baritone. Here the music changes from its previous lyric and melodic quality to clashing dissonance, using Mrs.
Heggie adds horns, trumpets, as well as percussion to the tutti strings and winds to achieve this. She was just seventeen. He stabbed her over and over and over and over. He stabbed her thirty- seven times in the throat. That was after he raped her. De Rocher, to a very declamatory recitative style written in the upper range for a baritone voice type, and has short phrases that are punctuated with frequent rests.
Dramatically, a guard also needs to restrain him. Section II mm. It is similar to the first section, in that it also contains a recitative section ha, mm. The music is through-composed, but Heggie brings back previous motivic material in the orchestral texture that corresponds to her conflicted emotions and passionate expressions.
Stage directions indicate that Mrs. Patrick De Rocher is no longer reading from the paper, but is to speak directly from her heart. The orchestration is very sparse here, only clarinet at first, followed by horns and harp. Heggie develops this further in the arioso of Section II which can also be analyzed as a two-part form, already noted as section hIb mm. As well, the vocal tessitura shifts to a higher register as the melodic line is carried to its highest pitches, E5 — A5 allowing for more dramatic expression.
The family of the condemned are often treated like vermin, too. The music returns to the F major of the opening introduction, although the voice continues a new melodic line. Her scene ends in a dual tonality of E minor set against F diminished chords. Clearly, skirting the tonality of F major from the beginning, the ending with its dual tonal centers is indicative of the deterioration in Mrs.
In this scene, Mrs. Patrick De Rocher appears as a very vulnerable woman in deep pain, but one who still has the strength to face her adversaries. Despite her failures, McNally and Heggie present her with honesty. De Rocher. In this scene, Sister Helen is confronted for her lack of empathy for the parents of the murdered teens. Additionally, the parents express some of their own pain at the loss of their children, and their guilt because of how they might have failed them. McNally and Heggie are very sensitive to the feelings and grief of the mothers Kitty Hart and Jade Boucher, as the listener is invited to hear aspects of their pain.
De Rocher also enters the scene musically, and McNally and Heggie allow us to see deeper into her grief. The scene reveals that the suffering is the same for each parent, whether a parent of the murdered teens, or parent of the killer. In other European countries, especially Germany and Austria, it often shared the stages of civic theatres with straight plays. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-rst century, there are in the United States of America and Canada more than professional companies staging regular although, outside the principal cities, not necessarily lengthy annual seasons of opera, while in Britain there are several wellestablished companies, ranging from the Royal Opera, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera to such smaller-scale companies as English Touring Opera, City of Birmingham Touring Opera and British Youth Opera.
The staples of the operatic diet today are the major works of ve great composers Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini and Strauss and one could add Beethoven here for his only opera, Fidelio, a masterpiece that I consider hors concours as well as operas by Handel, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Bizet, Massenet,. I have included nearly two hundred operas in this guide all of those that are regularly performed today, as well as a good many that one encounters in the opera house less frequently.
I have placed each opera in context in its composers development, and have also discussed the circumstances surrounding its composition and rst production. I have followed this with a brief synopsis of the plot, and also my personal assessment of the music, paying particular attention to the most important and signicant arias, duets and ensembles.
Fra Diavolo, ou Lhtellerie de Terracine Fra Diavolo, or The Inn of Terracina opra comique in three acts approximate length: 3 hours Fra Diavolo, a bandit chief tenor Lord Cockburn, an English traveller tenor Lady Pamela, his wife mezzo-soprano Lorenzo, an ofcer tenor Matheo, an innkeeper bass Zerline, his daughter soprano Giacomo, a bandit bass Beppo, a bandit tenor libretto by eugne scribe; time: ; place: the countryside near rome; first performed at the opra-comique, paris, 28 january he composer of forty-eight operas, most of them in a light vein and written in collaboration with the librettist Eugne Scribe, Auber was one of the leading gures in the development of nineteenth-century French opera.
Fra Diavolo, the most successful of Aubers operas when it was rst staged in , had by been performed more than nine hundred times at the OpraComique in Paris. Alessandro Bonci and, later, Tito Schipa were famous Diavolos. The opera is still to be encountered, especially in France, Germany and Italy, and in , making his San Francisco debut, the Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda was a greatly admired Diavolo.
In those great comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy starred in Fra Diavolo, a highly amusing movie burlesque of the opera, with its principal numbers retained. Laurel and Hardy played Stanlio and Olio, two wandering vagrants who become accomplices of Diavolo performed by Dennis King, a popular American operetta tenor of the day. The lm turns up occasionally on TV and still retains its ability to entertain. Act I. A tavern. Diavolo was based by Scribe on a real-life bandit, Michele Pezze, who ourished in southern Italy around At the inn where the English couple are staying, in the vicinity of Terracina, Diavolo contrives to remove Lady Pamelas diamond necklace while she is wearing it.
A sub-plot involves Zerline, the innkeepers daughter. She is in love with Lorenzo, a poor ofcer in the Roman dragoons, but is being forced by her father to marry Francesco, a rich farmer. Act II. Zerlines bedroom. Diavolo, still posing as the Marquis, enters Zerlines room, hoping to gain access from it to the rooms occupied by the English couple, and is joined by his fellow bandits, Beppo and Giacomo.
When his presence is discovered he pretends to have been summoned by Zerline to a rendezvous, thus arousing Lorenzo's jealousy. Act III. The mountains nearby. Fra Diavolo conceals his instructions to Beppo and Giacomo in a hollow tree. The wedding procession of Zerline and Francesco appears, and Diavolos two followers nd their instructions and mingle with the guests, among them Lorenzo who is in despair at having lost his Zerline. Betraying themselves by talking carelessly, the two bandits are arrested and forced to give their chief the signal to appear.
When Diavolo suddenly emerges on the rocky hillside he is shot by Lorenzos dragoons and falls to his death. In Aubers original ending Diavolo is merely taken prisoner. But the opera ends satisfactorily for Lorenzo and Zerline, who are allowed to marry. The most attractive numbers in Aubers light, tuneful and, in places, Rossinian score include a rousing drinking song at the beginning of the opera and, later in Act I, a charming aria, Voyez sur cette roche, in which Zerline describes to the supposed Marquis the exploits of the bandits.
An Act I duet for the aristocratic English couple is amusing, and so is the quintet that follows it. Diavolos aria at the beginning of Act III is a real tour de force, giving the tenor ne opportunities for vocal display. Throughout this comic opera Aubers delightful melodic facility is well in evidence. Nicolai Gedda brings his lyrical. Vanessa opera in four acts approximate length: 2 hours Vanessa soprano Erika, her niece mezzo-soprano The Old Baroness, her mother contralto Anatol tenor The Doctor baritone Nicholas bass Footman bass libretto by gian carlo menotti, based on a story by isak dinesen; time: around ; place: an unspecied northern country; first performed at the metropolitan opera house, new york, 15 january nephew of the famous contralto Louise Homer, and himself a baritone taught by his aunt , Barber began composing while still a child, and later studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.
He showed a particular interest in vocal music throughout his career, and an early work, his setting for voice and string quartet of Matthew Arnolds Dover Beach in , made his name known outside the United States. It was, however, not until the s that he composed his rst opera. He was a friend of the opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti, and it was to a large extent at the instigation of Menotti that he composed Vanessa, for which Menotti wrote the libretto, based on a story in Seven Gothic Tales by the Danish short-story writer Isak Dinesen published in A revised version in three acts had its premiere at the old Met in , but it is the original four-act opera that is now usually performed.
When the Metropolitan Opera moved to its new home at Lincoln Center in ,. Barber was commissioned to compose the opening opera, Anthony and Cleopatra. Unfortunately, it was generally considered a failure. The entire action takes place at Vanessas country manor house. Vanessa, her mother the Baroness and her niece Erika are awaiting the return of Anatol, Vanessas lover who left her twenty years ago. The Anatol who arrives, however, is the son of Vanessas lover who is no longer alive. Mistaking the young man for his father, Vanessa asks if he still loves her and is devastated when she realizes her mistake.
Her niece Erika entreats Anatol to leave, but he refuses. A month later. Erika confesses to the Baroness that Anatol seduced her on the night of his arrival, and that she refused his offer of marriage. Vanessa and Anatol return from ice-skating, and announce plans for a splendid ball on New Years Eve. Erika realizes that her aunt is in love with Anatol. New Years Eve. At the ball, Anatol and Vanessa pledge their love in public. Erika, carrying Anatols child, stumbles out into the cold towards the lake. Act IV. Erika is recovering after having attempted suicide.
Anatol and Vanessa, now married, are about to depart for Paris, while Erika prepares to withdraw from the world. Barbers late Romantic style is agreeable and assured, and the score of Vanessa is rich in harmony and melodically generous, though not strongly individual. The opera is composed as individual numbers linked by arioso or recitative, and the nest number is a dramatic quintet in Act IV To leave, to break, to nd, to keep. Duke Bluebeards Castle A kkszkall herceg vra opera in one act approximate length: 1 hour Duke Bluebeard bass Judith, his wife mezzo-soprano Prologue spoken role.
Of his three pieces for the stage, all of which date from the early part of his career, two The Wooden Prince and The Miraculous Mandarin are ballet scores. The one-act Duke Bluebeards Castle, composed to a libretto in Hungarian, is his only opera. The symbolism of Balazss text is open to more than one interpretation, but the work is generally understood as an allegory on the essential loneliness of the human condition.
This short opera, lasting less than an hour, was composed in However, it had to wait until for its rst production, after which it was not performed again in Hungary for nearly twenty years, because the countrys reactionary regime would not allow the librettists name to be credited since he was a socialist, and Bartk would not allow performances if it were not.
A speaker introduces the action, which takes place in the vast windowless hall of a Gothic castle with seven huge doors leading from it. Through a smaller door, Duke Bluebeard enters with his new wife Judith, whom he leads by the hand. She seems nervous of him, but when he gives her a chance to reconsider her decision to share his life she insists that she will stay with him for ever. As she begins to regain her courage, she asks that the seven doors be opened to allow light and air into the hall. Bluebeard refuses, but Judith persuades him to give her the key to the rst door. The castle seems to emit a sigh as she opens the door to reveal a torture chamber, graphically conjured up by a beam of red light from beyond the door and, in the orchestra, harsh scale passages from the woodwind and xylophone.
On the walls of the chamber there is blood, but Judith, undeterred, interprets the red as being the colour not of blood but of dawn. She reafrms her love for Bluebeard and demands the remaining keys. The second key unlocks the door to Bluebeards bronze-coloured armoury, its weapons bloodstained. When Judith opens the third room, a golden treasury, she enters it and emerges with a jewelled robe and a crown. The fourth door opens to reveal the bluish light of a garden on whose owers there is blood, and the fth opens on the dazzling white light of Bluebeards kingdom.
But there is blood even here, in the clouds hanging over the kingdom. Although warned by Bluebeard not to continue, Judith next opens the sixth door, to the accompaniment of harp and clarinet arpeggios, revealing a lake which Bluebeard tells her contains the water of tears. He takes her in his arms and attempts to dissuade her from opening the seventh and last door. Judith asks him if he has loved other women before her.
When he evades her question, she demands the key. As she opens the seventh door, the light in the hall becomes dimmer, and three beautiful women, Bluebeards former wives, step forth. Bluebeard addresses them as his loves of the morning, noon and evening of his life, and assures Judith that she, the most beautiful of them all, is his last love, the love of his night-time. Judith follows the other wives back through the seventh door, which closes behind them leaving Bluebeard nally alone to face eternal darkness.
Bartks powerful score, with its wide range of colour and its voice parts written in an expressive arioso, is intensely dramatic the magnicent C-major blaze of sound from the orchestra when the fth door is opened is a superb moment. DG The passionately insistent voice of Varady and the sad, foredoomed tones of Fischer-Dieskau carry the drama, wrote Arthur Jacobs in Opera. Wolfgang Sawallisch brings out superbly the inner richness of the score.
Fidelio opera in two acts approximate length: 2 hours, 15 minutes Florestan, a prisoner tenor Leonore, his wife, alias Fidelio soprano Rocco, a gaoler bass Marzelline, his daughter soprano Jacquino, assistant to Rocco tenor Don Pizarro, governor of the prison baritone Don Fernando, minister of state bass. Less at ease with vocal music, in which it seems his imagination was hampered by the physical limitations of the human voice, he completed only one opera, Fidelio, at a period in his life when he had already composed his third symphony and his rst group of six string quartets.
When, during the winter of , his attention was drawn to a libretto, Lonore, ou LAmour conjugal, by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, which had been set by French composer Pierre Gaveaux and performed with great success in Paris in , Beethoven abandoned his opera Vestas Feuer, of which he had written no more than the rst scene. He had Bouillys libretto translated into German and revised by the Viennese court secretary Joseph von Sonnleithner, and by the end of January he was at work on his Leonore.
On 20 November , when Vienna was under the occupation of Napoleons troops, the opera was given its premiere at the Theater an der Wien. Not the Theater auf der Wieden. These two Viennese theatres are frequently mistaken for each other by writers. Leonore achieved only three performances. After Beethoven had revised it, reducing its three acts to two, the opera was staged again at the Theater an der Wien on 29 March , with only one further performance several days later.
By the time it was next seen, at the Krntnertortheater on 23 May , it had progressed to its third and nal version, with its libretto revised by Georg Friedrich Treitschke, the theatres resident poet, and it was now called Fidelio though Beethoven continued to prefer its earlier title. Three overtures composed for the earlier Vienna performances and for a planned production in Prague are now known as the Leonore overtures nos 1, 2, and 3.
The overture to Fidelio dates from Florestan has been unjustly imprisoned by his enemy the prison governor Don Pizarro. Florestans wife Leonore, determined to nd him and secure his release,. Act I, scene i. A room in Roccos quarters. The gaolers young assistant, Jacquino, who is in love with Marzelline and has until now had reason to think his affection was reciprocated, is attempting to persuade her to name a date for their wedding Jetzt, Schtzchen, jezt sind wir allein.
Interrupted by a knocking at the door, he goes off to investigate, leaving Marzelline to reect that, although she was once in love with him, since the arrival of Fidelio she has been able to think only of her fathers new young assistant O wr ich schon mit dir vereint. Rocco and Fidelio enter with Jacquino, and Rocco makes it clear that he would be more than willing to accept his new young helper as a son-in-law. All express their feelings inwardly Mir ist so wunderbar , and Rocco then offers Fidelio and Marzelline practical advice on the need for money as well as love Hat man nicht auch Gold beineben.
Fidelio asks to be allowed to help Rocco look after all of the prisoners, but he tells him there is one, incarcerated in a dungeon, whom he cannot let him see. The poor man, he says, will in any case not survive for long, as he is being starved on the orders of the governor. Leonore fears that the prisoner may be her husband, Florestan. Act I, scene ii. The courtyard of the prison. A platoon of guards marches in, followed by Don Pizarro, the prison governor, who calls for his despatches. He reads one that warns him that the minister of state has been apprised that some of the prisons under Pizarros jurisdiction contain victims of injustice, and that he intends to surprise Pizarro with an inspection.
Pizarro decides to have Florestan killed immediately, to prevent his being found Ha! Welch ein Augenblick. Ordering a trumpeter to mount the tower, keep a close watch on the road to Seville, and give a signal as soon as a coach with outriders appears, Pizarro then tries to bribe Rocco into murdering the prisoner in the dungeon. Failing in this, he resolves to kill his enemy himself.
He orders Rocco to precede him into the dungeon and dig a grave. Leonore, who has overheard them, is strengthened in her resolve to save Florestan Komm, Hoffnung. Fidelio persuades Rocco to allow the prisoners out into the courtyard, since the weather is so beautiful. Rocco reluctantly agrees but, when the prisoners emerge into the sunlight O welche Lust , Leonore is disappointed not to nd Florestan among them.
Rocco promises to allow Fidelio to help him dig the grave of the unfortunate wretch in the dungeon, and Leonore now feels certain that this must be Florestan. As they are about to descend to the dungeon, Pizarro returns. Furious at nding the prisoners allowed out into the courtyard, he orders them to be herded back into their cells. Act II, scene i. A dungeon cell.
Florestan, fettered to the wall by a long chain, muses on his fate and imagines he is visited by an angel in the form of his wife, who has come to lead him to heaven In des Lebens Frhlingstagen. As he sinks exhausted into sleep, Rocco and Fidelio enter, carrying a jug of wine, tools for digging, and a lamp. They begin to clear out an old cistern as a grave for the prisoner, but Leonore, who cannot see his face, expresses her determination to save the poor man, whoever he might be. When Florestan awakens, Leonore recognizes her husband.
Florestan asks Rocco the name of the governor of the prison. When told it is Pizarro, whose crimes he has dared to reveal, he begs Rocco to send a message to his wife in Seville. Rocco answers that he dare not, and that it would in any case be to no avail. Florestan asks for water, and Rocco lets him have the dregs of the wine in his jug and allows Fidelio to give the prisoner a piece of stale bread Euch werde Lohn. At a signal from Rocco, Pizarro descends into the dungeon. He draws a dagger and is about to kill Florestan when Leonore springs forward to shield him.
She draws a pistol, aiming it at Pizarro with a cry of First kill his wife! A trumpet sounds from the tower, heralding the arrival of the minister of state. When it sounds a second time, Jacquino appears at the top of the stairs, announcing that the minister and his retinue are already in the prison yard. Pizarro hurries out, followed by Rocco, while a joyous Leonore and Florestan embrace O namenlose Freude.
Act II, scene ii. The parade ground of the prison. The minister, Don Fernando, addresses a crowd of citizens who have rushed in to petition him, and assures them that he has come to free them from tyranny. Rocco leads Leonore and Florestan forward, and the minister, shocked to see his old friend in chains, orders Pizarro to be led away by guards and allows Leonore to remove her husbands chains O Gott!
O welch ein Augenblick! Marzelline is disconcerted to nd her beloved Fidelio revealed to be the wife of Florestan, but all join in singing a hymn of praise to the woman who has saved her husbands life Wer ein holdes Weib errungen. The form of Beethovens opera, which is that of a French opra comique with spoken dialogue separating the musical numbers, is thought by some to be inappropriate to its subject matter, and indeed it has to be admitted that, formally, Fidelio is unsatisfactory.
But Beethoven, moved by the story of a womans heroism in rescuing her husband, has composed a work that can be said to transcend. Fidelio begins conventionally enough with the music of Marzelline and Jacquino, but as early as the deeply moving quartet Mir ist so wunderbar, in canon form, the drama moves on to a higher plane. This is one of the most beautiful numbers in the score. Roccos cynical little song Hat man nicht auch Gold beineben is a return to a more mundane level and could be omitted with impunity , but from that point onward the music represents Beethoven at his greatest.
The nal chorus, in a triumphant C major, is a glorious expression of universal love, while the hushed prisoners chorus O welche Lust and the ecstatic duet for Leonore and Florestan O namenlose Freude are other highlights of Beethovens divine score. Leonore and Florestan are each given an imposing aria preceded by expressive recitative. Leonores profoundly moving Komm, Hoffnung beautifully conveys the power of love and hope, while the mood of Florestans In des Lebens Frhlingstagen moves from resignation to joyous anticipation. Great interpreters of the leading roles, within living memory, have included Birgit Nilsson, Christa Ludwig, the incomparable Lotte Lehmann whose recording of Leonores aria on a 78 rpm disc can be found on CD and Julius Patzak, the Viennese tenor whose Florestan in the years following World War II has surely remained in the memory of all who saw him in the role.
His opening cry of Gott! Welch Dunkel hier must still be ringing in the rafters of the opera houses of Vienna and London. By common consent, Klemperer was regarded as the greatest of Beethoven conductors in the second half of the twentieth century. He conducts a most moving performance of Beethovens marvellous score, and has the advantage of a superb cast, all of whose members are fully in accord with his authoritative approach to the work.
Christa Ludwig brings Leonore vividly to life, Jon Vickers is an eloquent Florestan, and Gottlob Frick successfully conveys Roccos ambiguous personality. I Capuleti e i Montecchi The Capulets and the Montagues lyrical tragedy in two acts approximate length: 2 hours, 20 minutes Giulietta Juliet , a Capulet soprano Romeo, a Montague mezzo-soprano Tebaldo Tybalt , a Capulet tenor Capellio Capulet , Giuliettas father bass Lorenzo Friar Laurence , a physician baritone libretto by felice romani; time: the thirteenth century; place: verona; first performed at the teatro la fenice, venice, 11 march ellinis rst opera, Adelson e Salvini, was produced in at the Naples Conservatorium while the composer was still a student there.
Its success led to his being commissioned to write an opera for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, where Bianca e Gernando its title later changed to Bianca e Fernando was successfully premiered the following year. After this, the young composers future was assured. The libretto of his next opera, Il pirata The Pirate; , was provided by Felice Romani, the most famous librettist of his day, who went on to collaborate with Bellini on all but one of his subsequent operas. The rst of these, La straniera The Stranger; , was enthusiastically received, but Zaira also was a failure, so Bellini withdrew his score and used nearly half of it again in his next opera, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, composed for the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, where it was staged in Romanis libretto, a version of the Romeo and Juliet story, was an adaptation of the libretto he had written ve years earlier for Nicola Vaccais Giulietta e Romeo.
It is based not on Shakespeare but on Giuseppe Maria Foppas libretto for another operatic version of the story, Niccolo Zingarellis Giulietta e Romeo , whose ultimate derivation was a fteenth-century novella by Masuccio Salernitano. The immediate source of Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet in was a narrative poem published thirty years earlier, The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke, which in turn was based on a sixteenth-century French version of the story. Bellinis opera was enthusiastically received at its premiere and was performed eight times within the ten days remaining before the end of the opera season.
After the third performance, the composer was accompanied to his lodgings by a huge crowd of admirers and a military band playing excerpts from his other operas. Bellini later said Zaira got its revenge with I Capuleti e i Montecchi. The new opera remained popular in Italy and abroad until the end of the nineteenth century, and Wagner acknowledged its inuence on Act II of Tristan und Isolde. In recent years I Capuleti e i Montecchi has been frequently revived, though not always authentically. In the nineteenth century a practice arose, begun by the singer Maria Malibran in , of substituting the nal scene from Vaccais Giulietta e Romeo for Bellinis nal scene.
This no longer happens, but in Claudio Abbado conducted at La Scala, Milan, his own adaptation of Bellinis score, with the mezzo-soprano travesti role of Romeo rewritten for the tenor voice and sung by Giacomo Aragall. A gallery in Capellios palace. In the warfare between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the Capulet family are supporters of the Guelphs, while the Montagues are on the side of the Ghibellines. Tebaldo, who is in love with his cousin Giulietta, tells his fellow Capulets that an attack led by Romeo, a Montague who has already slain Capellios son in battle, is shortly to be expected E serbata a questo acciaro.
Capellio, the head of the Capulet family, announces that an offer of peace has been received from Romeo, but he rejects it and agrees to the immediate marriage of his daughter Giulietta to Tebaldo. Romeo arrives, pretending to be his own envoy, and asks that peace between the two families be sealed by the marriage of Giulietta to Romeo, who, he says, still weeps over having killed Capellios son Se Romeo tuccise un glio.
When he is told that Giulietta is to be married to Tebaldo, Romeo reveals his identity and swears vengeance upon the Capulets. A room in Giuliettas apartment. Arrayed in her wedding dress, an unhappy Giulietta longs to see Romeo, whom she loves Oh! Quante volte. The physician Lorenzo brings Romeo to her, and the two lovers greet each other rapturously. But when Romeo asks Giulietta to escape with him, her sense of duty to her father leads her to refuse. Distraught, Romeo leaves by the secret door through which he had entered. Act I, scene iii. A courtyard in Capellios palace where the wedding festivities have begun.
Romeo, disguised as a Guelph, condes to Lorenzo that an army of a thousand Ghibellines in disguise is already in Verona, poised to interrupt Giuliettas wedding. The two men rush off as the noise of battle is heard. They are interrupted by the arrival of Tebaldo, to whom Romeo reveals his identity. Act I ends with the Guelphs and Ghibellines threatening one another, and with the young lovers in despair. An apartment in Capellios palace. Lorenzo tells Giulietta that Romeo has escaped, but that she can avoid her imminent marriage to Tebaldo by swallowing a potion that will give her sleep the semblance of death.
She will be laid to rest in the family tomb, and will awaken in the arms of her beloved Romeo. Despite her forebodings, Giulietta drinks the potion. When her father arrives to nd her too unwell to proceed with the wedding, he begins to suspect treachery on the part of Lorenzo, and orders a close watch to be kept on him. A deserted spot near Capellios palace. Romeo waits in vain for Lorenzo, who was to have explained about the potion and taken him to Giulietta. Tebaldo arrives, and the two men are about to ght when the sound of a dirge is heard, and Giuliettas funeral procession appears.
Horried, Romeo and Tebaldo express their despair. Act II, scene iii. The funeral vaults of the Capulets. Romeo enters with his followers and prises open the lid of Giuliettas cofn. The other Montagues leave, but Romeo, grief-stricken, begs Giuliettas soul to take him to heaven with her Deh! Tu bell anima , and he swallows some poison. As he loses consciousness, Giulietta rises from her cofn. Romeo dies in her arms, and Giulietta expires from grief as her father and Lorenzo arrive. Despite the disconcerting fact that eight of its ten numbers contain music initially composed for earlier Bellini operas, notably Zaira, Bellinis Romeo and Juliet opera, with its blend of elegiac melancholy and martial ardour, succeeds in capturing the essence of the story, and his decision to write the role of the adolescent Romeo for a female mezzo-soprano can be made to work perfectly well with careful and suitable casting.
The highlights of the opera include Romeos moving larghetto aria, Se Romeo tuccise un glio, one of Bellinis typically longbreathed melodies; Giuliettas touching romanza with harp accompaniment,Oh! Quante volte; the dramatic and fervent love duet, Si, fuggire; and, in the nal scene, Romeos andante aria, Deh! Tu bell anima.
Unlike many bel canto operas, Bellinis I Capuleti e i Montecchi never completely disappeared from the repertoire. In it was staged in the composers home town, Catania, to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of his death, and in it was performed in Palermo with the great Italian mezzo-soprano Giulietta Simionato as Romeo.
Other notable performers of the roles of the. RCA Vesselina Kasarova is superb as the impulsive lover, and Eva Mei immensely appealing as his beloved. The other roles are strongly sung and characterized, and Abbado secures a ne, stylistically perfect performance from the orchestra. La sonnambula The Sleepwalker opera semiseria in two acts approximate length: 3 hours Amina, an orphan raised by Teresa soprano Lisa, an innkeeper soprano Teresa, owner of the village mill mezzo-soprano Elvino, a wealthy farmer tenor Count Rodolfo, lord of the village bass Alessio, a villager bass libretto by felice romani; time: the early nineteenth century; place: a village in switzerland; first performed at the teatro carcano, milan, 6 march fter the success of I Capuleti e i Montecchi in Venice in the spring of , Bellinis next commission was to compose an opera for Milan not for the most prestigious Milanese theatre, La Scala, but for the Teatro Carcano, one of several other theatres in the city.
Bellini and his librettist Felice Romani at rst intended to base their opera on Victor Hugos play Hernani, and indeed they completed four musical numbers before abandoning the project, probably because they feared that the operas revolutionary subject might run into difculties with the censorship authorities.
By early January they were at work on the politically innocuous La sonnambula, which they wrote very quickly. The plot was taken from the scenario of a ballet, La Sonnambule, by the French playwright and librettist Eugne Scribe which had been staged in Paris three years previously, and which had in turn derived from a two-act comedy by Scribe and Casimir Delavigne, rst performed in Paris in At its premiere in Milan, when it shared a double bill with a ballet, the success of Bellinis La sonnambula was immense, with its leading roles of Amina and Elvino performed by two of the greatest singers of the time, the soprano Giuditta Pasta and the tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini.
The following day Bellini wrote to a friend: Here you have the happy news of the uproarious success of my opera last night at the Carcano. I will say nothing about the music, for you will read of that in the press. I can only assure you that Rubini and Pasta are two angels who enraptured the entire audience to the point of madness. The Russian composer Mikhail Glinka had been in the audience. In his Memoirs he wrote: Pasta and Rubini sang with the most evident enthusiasm to support their favourite conductor.
In the second act the singers themselves wept and carried their audience along with them so that, in that happy season of carnival, tears were continually being wiped away in boxes and stalls alike. Embracing Shterich [Glinkas travelling companion, an amateur composer] in the Ambassadors box, I too shed tears of emotion and ecstasy. A square in the village, outside the mill.
The villagers have assembled to celebrate the imminent marriage of Amina, an orphan brought up by Teresa, the owner of the village mill, to Elvino, a wealthy young farmer. Lisa, the proprietress of the local inn, does not take part in the general air of rejoicing, for she is in love with Elvino Tutto gioia, tutto festa and is not interested in the attentions of Alessio, a young villager who loves her. Amina and Teresa arrive, and Amina thanks her friends, especially Teresa, who has always behaved like a mother to her Come per me sereno.
Elvino appears, having been praying at his mothers tomb, and the marriage contract is signed and witnessed, the wedding itself to take place next day in the church. Elvino tenderly places a ring on Aminas nger Prendi, lanel ti dono. A carriage draws up, from which there emerges a handsome stranger who seeks directions to the castle. On being told it is some distance away, he decides to stay overnight at the inn in this village which seems to have fond associations for him Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni.
Although the villagers do not realize it, the stranger is in fact their feudal lord, Count Rodolfo, returning after a long absence to take. To the annoyance of Elvino, the Count pays compliments to Amina, who, he says, reminds him of his own lost love Tu non sai con quei begli occhi. As evening falls, the villagers warn the stranger of a phantom which they claim has been haunting their village, a warning that Rodolfo accepts with scepticism. He is conducted by a irtatious Lisa to her inn, while Elvino, left alone with Amina, gently chides her for having allowed the stranger to pay compliments to her.
However, Amina easily reassures the jealous Elvino of her love for him Son geloso del zefro errante. Count Rodolfos room at the inn. Lisa irts with the Count, whose identity the villagers have by now discovered. Hearing a noise outside, she escapes to an adjoining room, inadvertently dropping a handkerchief which Rodolfo retrieves and hangs over a bedpost. Amina, wearing a white nightgown, now enters through a window, and Rodolfo realizes that she is walking in her sleep and that it is no doubt her somnambulism that has given rise to the rumour of a phantom haunting the village at night.
Lisa, who has glimpsed Amina entering Rodolfos room, assumes that she has an assignation with him, and quietly goes off to inform Elvino. Meanwhile, Amina has begun to talk in her sleep about her marriage and Elvinos jealousy. Rodolfo is touched by her words, and in order to avoid embarrassing her he leaves as Amina, still asleep, lies on the bed.
The villagers arrive to pay homage to the Count. Entering his room, they espy the gure of a sleeping woman on his bed, and are about to withdraw when Lisa returns with Elvino and reveals to him that the woman on the bed is his betrothed, Amina. Awakened by the noise, Amina is unable to explain her presence in the Counts room. Although she protests her innocence Dun pensiero e dun accento , she is denounced by Elvino and by all the assembled villagers except her foster-mother, Teresa, who takes the handkerchief that is hanging over the bedpost, places it around Aminas neck and catches her as she swoons.
A forest between the village and the castle. It turns out the two members of the band are both veterans of the British indie scene, having collaborated as either musicians or songwriters with no less than Pulp , Elastica , Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros , Ian Brown , Shaun Ryder , and Josh Homme , among others. The band itself formed in , released its first album in and a second in , but both were UK-only releases.
Which, I believe, is what every songwriter aspires to. Yo encuentro que estas canciones me hacen sentir bien. No hay tiempo para ensayar, pronto nos habremos ido por siempre I find these songs make me feel good. There is a one-two- three punch of catchy hooks, soaring emotions, and uplifting lyrics, which deal mostly with picking yourself up after being beaten down.
- A Just Society for Ireland? 1964-1987.
- Seamus Tripp & the Thunderbird (The Adventures of Seamus Tripp).
- The Spirit of Agape Self-Help from Within: Inspirational Writings of Terry Harvey.
These days These days are all we have. No realmente. Y espero que los haga sentir como a mi cuando lo escucho. So, are catchy, soaring, anthemic songs a rarity? Not really. Which brings me back to my original point about trying to pitch a band that does not have a single groundbreaking aspect to them.
What can I say, other than I really like this record, and I think you should give it a spin? Si encuentras que alguno de estos te gusta o no , no dejes de hacer click en el enlace que dice " x comments" al final de la nota y deja un comentario. This year I got a little crazy and ended up making 6 of them instead of my usual 2. The first 3 were completed before the holidays in December, and the last 3 in late January, and although I did get to give out a few physical CDs of each, I found it hard to make time to post them to the blog.
So, with a couple months delay, here they are. If you enjoy any of these or don't , please click on the " x comments" link under the post and leave a comment. The Miscellaneous Mix. This was the first one I made, in early December, I think, and it's a little funny, because it was made from the "leftover" songs that I decided wouldn't quite fit on any of the other mix discs I had in mind, and in the end it may be the one I like the most.
Press the button to listen to it. Completed in mid-December, this is the one I've been doing the longest, and this year I decided to take out the "techno" stuff and make another separate mix for that. El "tecno"-mix, publicado justo antes de Navidad; tuve problemas para encontrar un buen nombre que comenzara con "M" para este mix. The "techno" mix, released right before Christmas; I had a hard time finding a good name that started with "M" for it. As you can tell, I gave up rather quickly.
After listening to some of the mixes I was sharing, one of my best friends and biggest musical references told me, "Dude, nowadays you're anything but a rocker. So I asked around for a few recommendations to complete a min setlist, and judging by the evaluation I got of this mix later by the same friend, it is apparently obvious that this is the least genuine of all of them. I still like it, though.
On a related note, a few days after that uninspiring appraisal, I read an article that said that was "the worst year for rock music since " which is pretty much when rock'n'roll was just taking off El otro mix anual fiable, este lo hice a finales de enero. The other dependable yearly mix, this one was done in late January. I made this one in one evening, so it's kinda "sloppy" in that there isn't any actual "mixing" in the proper sense no looping, no beat-matching, etc.
Just in case anyone is actually still following the blog, I've been updating the list of albums in the sidebar on the right It now has my favorite records of the last 5 years and I only need to add my favorites of so far, and a few others I've been listening to recently. I also expect to post within the next few days my year-end mixes, that just a few lucky people have gotten on CD and a few others got to download from Facebook.
Simplemente lo hace. In an earlier post , I wrote about Brenda Ueland's definition of "art" as the result of "a genuine expression of love or enthusiasm. I don't know why Eef Barzelay aka Clem Snide gets to me, but he does. He just does. And he must feel like he connects to other musicians, because I find he has a unique talent to find qualities in songs that most of us would overlook and make them shine--no matter if the song was made popular by Journey or Christina Aguilera.
Here's a collection of Clem Snide covers:. Clem Snide covers Journey Journey's "Faithfully". Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful". Asia's "Heat of the Moment". Ritchie Valens' "Donna". Y un par de temas menos emotivos:. And a couple of less emotive songs:.