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“Ah, fors’è lui” January 4, 2008

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Netrebko and Villazón, Opera.
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Anna Netrebko nails the Olympic women’s triathlon of Italian opera, the last ten minutes of the first act of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata: “Ah, fors’è lui” followed by “Follie! Delirio vano è questo!”, concluding with “Sempre libera”. Briefly accompanied by her best-known operatic partner, Rolando Villazón.
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“La maledizione!” November 23, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Theater, Tito Gobbi.
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Above, the quartet from Act III of Verdi’s Rigoletto, the title character of which is the mark of any Verdi baritone. Lina Pagliughi singing Gilda (acted by Marcella Govoni), Mario Filippeschi as the Duke of Mantua, Anna Maria Canale as Maddelena … and the brilliant Tito Gobbi as the court jester whose daughter is seduced by his employer. From a 1946 film, with the orchestra conducted by Tulio Serafin.

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“Credo” November 22, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Tito Gobbi.
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At the end of his composing career, Giuseppe Verdi returned to his favorite dramatist for his last two operas. Arrigo Boito was very faithful to Shakespeare in his libretto for Otello, but at Verdi’s insistence included an aria in which Iago sings of “Credo in un Dio crudel” — his belief in a cruel God.

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“What is honour? A word” November 17, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Legit, Opera, Theater.
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My favorite baritone, the magnificent Tito Gobbi (1913-1984), sings of “L’Onore” in the title role of Giuseppe Verdi’s final opera, Falstaff.
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Playing favorites October 19, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Régine Crespin, Theater.
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Q: What’s your favorite work by Puccini?

A: La Boheme.

Q: What’s your favorite work by Offenbach?

A: Tales of Hoffman.

Q: What’s your favorite work by Wagner?

A: Meistersinger.

Q: What’s your favorite work by Sondheim?

A: Sunday In The Park With George.

Q: What’s your favorite work by Verdi?

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Più di Luciano September 14, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Theater.
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Cover of Il Trovatore album

I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited to see a new recording as I was when I walked into Sam Goody’s Manhattan store in 1977 to find this. (And I don’t want to hear the word “Photoshop”; he really was that thin once …)

Like much of classic early Verdi, Il Trovatore doesn’t get performed much any more. It’s not for nothing that this was the opera they chose to make fun of in the Marx Brothers movie; when I saw him perform it at the Met there was a big part of me that was disappointed not to see Harpo and Chico playing baseball in the orchestra pit during the overture.

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The force of destiny August 27, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Theater.
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Renata Tebaldi

A 1953 performance of my Dad’s favorite Verdi opera, La Forza Del Destino, by a damn near perfect cast …

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For my sixteenth birthday* May 29, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Netrebko and Villazón, Opera, Theater, Zook.
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Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón celebrate the happy occasion 😉

From a brilliant Salzburg Festival production of Verdi’s La Traviata. (I watched this several times before I realized that half the chorus is women in drag.)

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My favorite soprano May 8, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Renata Scotto, Theater.
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My favorite soprano (of those I have heard live) is a housewife from New Rochelle, N. Y., short and not entirely svelte (although considerably skinnier than when she was younger). When she married Lorenzo Anselmi in 1960, she decided to eschew the life of an international opera star, and she signed a long-term contract with the Met. So, when I got the opera bug in college, I got to see a lot more of her than I might have if she had lived a more transient life.

I guess I have heard better voices, but I’m not sure I’ve seen better acting, either in opera or anywhere on stage. I never saw Callas, but I’m content to say that I have seen Renata Scotto.
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“Sempre libera” March 2, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Theater.
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Okay, we had a little fun with La Dame Aux Camélias yesterday, now let’s see it straight …

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Beverly Sills’ début as Brünhilde March 1, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Beverly Sills, Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Opera, Theater, Vaudeville.
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From November 8, 1979. Well, really, name one other world-class soprano who could have pulled this off!

Extra credit to whomever figured out that “Sempre libera” sounds just like “God Bless America,” especially when sung by pigs.

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Opera of the week: Aida December 8, 2006

Posted by Jeff in 1946 through 1960, Giuseppe Verdi, Italian, Movies, Opera, Theater.
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Carlo Bergonzi as RadamesFrom April 12, 1973, a Covent Garden performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, conducted by Charles Mackerras.

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