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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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“L’autore ha cercato invece pingervi uno squarcio di vita”* November 21, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Italian, La Boheme, Opera, Theater, Tito Gobbi.
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* “Instead, the author has sought to paint for you a scene from life”

If you have ever read program notes for Pagliacci, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s first and best-known opera, you’ve probably seen the story that the composer based his libretto on a true murder case that had been tried by his father, who was a judge.

Great story … too bad it probably isn’t true.
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“Come Paride vezzoso” November 20, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Italian, Opera, Theater, Tito Gobbi.
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Until I saw this clip I think Falstaff was the only comic role I’d ever seen Tito Gobbi portray.

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“Don Giovanni” November 19, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Italian, Opera, Theater, Tito Gobbi.
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From the 1950 Salzburg Festival, my vote for the greatest recorded performance of a Mozart opera …

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“Va, Tosca!” November 18, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Italian, Opera, Theater, Tito Gobbi.
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Previously on the non-blog I’ve shown you the second-act finale to Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, with Maria Callas in the title role and the Baron Scarpia of George London. London was a brilliant singer — but he was not La Divina’s favorite Scarpia, nor mine.

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Opera of the week: Pagliacci January 12, 2007

Posted by Jeff in Italian, Opera, Theater, Tito Gobbi.
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pagliacci.jpgThe second (and imho lesser) half of opera’s most famous double bill, features the music of the first record ever to sell a million copies.

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