Friday, August 02, 2013

One Verdi Opera a Day: Macbeth, I Masnadieri, Jerusalem

Verdi circa 1848
Jenny Lind

I'm listening to one Verdi opera a day in honor of his bicentennial.
My comments are just a bit of 'gut reaction'
This continues to be a wonderful journey!
Listening to and reading about these works beats any vitamins for me, although chocolate could run anything a close race.

Macbeth  1847 Florence   revised 1865 Paris
Francesco Maria Piave

Peter Glossop, Rita Hunter, Joh Tomlinson, Kenneth Collins/John Matheson BBC Broadcast   1847 version

Piero Cappucilli, Shirley Verrett, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Franco Tagliavini/Claudio Abbado  La Scala 1976      1865 version

"He is the poet I revere above all others" wrote Verdi about Shakespeare. The composer knew the plays inMacbeth needs a formidable conductor, who is not tempted to play the witches for comedy. I'm riveted  by the Act 1 duet, 'Fatal mia donna!' and by the Brindisi in Act II...the entire scene with the vision of Banquo's Ghost. Once past Act 1, Macbeth 's grows in power. The third act vision scene and duet for the Macbeths, and the sleepwalking scene are first class Verdi.
translations, first made available in 1838.

Emmanuele Muzio
I masnadieri  1848  London
Andrea Maffei

Carlo Bergonzi, Montserrat Caballe, Piero Cappucilli, Ruggero Raimondi/Lambero Gardelli

Based on Schiller's Die Rauber , written for London and soprano Jenny Lind. Ernani.  No problem with that certainly, but we are absent any convincing love music. My least favorite Verdi thus far. But I'd rather sit through my least favorite Verdi than the best of many another composer.
Her voice according toVerdi's amanuensis Emmanuele Muzio, was "like tinsel, with great coloratura, appropriate to an earlier time but not to 1848." The plot is inane, and that's saying something. I find most of the music undistinguished. The baritone's vengeance scene in Act  1 sounds like G and S. The Act IV duet between Carlo and his father is wonderful. Amalia does not become the lead in spite of Jenny-it's another baritone opera, likeErnani. No problem there but it leaves Jerusalem without love music-and characters who seem irrelevant

Jersualem   1847 Paris  in French
Alphonse Royer, Gustave Vaez

Marina Mescheriakova, Marcello Giordani, Roberto Scandiuzzi/Fabio Luisi  Geneva

I love I Lombardi. Jersualem is a French language revision done for Paris. The Paris Opera had money, stagecraft, orchestra, set designers and an audience demanding huge spectacles with lots of pretty girls. Verdi was plodded by Ricordi to get on board. Jersualem is dramatically tighter and musically more polite. The French language gives the score an elegance lacking in  I Lombardi. I think Jersualem  is still considered a  revision rather than a separate opera. It plays faster,  and I enjoyed it.

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