The first Santuzza and Turiddu were soprano Gemma Bellincioni and her husband Roberto Stagno. Both were huge stars in late 19th century Italy. Bellincioni had become Verdi's favorite Violetta in La traviata. Stagno, who died young, was a very handsome tenor with a huge following. Recordings nearly 120 years old do neither justice. Remember they were singing brand new music in a new medium nobody trusted. It was a fluke, a joke. Recording wasn't yet taken seriously.
|Roberto Stagno and Gemma Bellincioni, the first Turiddu and Santuzza|
June 18, 2015
At the end of last night's rehearsal we were all exhausted. We've had a very intense few days of work. The last two rehearsal were productive, difficulty-for the right reasons-and rewarding as the show visually and aurally takes shape. Our conductor can transform a fine chorus into a world class ensemble in five minutes. He's done it more than once over the past week, whether rehearsing the opening "Gli ranci olezzano sui verdi margibni" or the Easter Hymn.
I don't mind telling you that I love this chorus, and several of its members are becoming increasingly dear to me. Great work and good spirits,in spite...
We've done a lot of work really delineating the Santuzza-Turiddu relationship. I see her as a bit more evil than does our leading lady. I think Santuzza transitions fast as Turiddu leaves and Alfio enters from scorned victim to vengeful spirit. OK not a malevolent harpy, but I think she knows what shes doing to Turiddu when she spills her guts to Alfio. One of the things I love about our Santuzza is the guts with which she sings and inhabits her role. It's good to disagree a bit in a friendly fashion. I learn from this. It's wonderful to have a handsome Turiddu who sings well and who last night began to show some vulnerability and variety in his performance. I believe Santuzza has her share of cruelty and Turiddu his share of conscience.
As I watched our rehearsal last night I saw Cavalleria rusticana begin to take shape as Opera Project Columbus's music drama. We won't have the the physical space for the chorus until we move into the theater next week. By then, when they can move a bit and show themselves tot he public, I'll be help to help flesh out individual characters. Musically the show is already a knock-out.
|Mascagni (center) with his librettists Targioni-Tozzetti (r) and Mesaci|
TITO GOBBI (!916-1984)
ETTORE BASTIANINI (1922-1967)