Category Archives: Verdi

Eri Tu

Tweet No composer gave the baritone so many great gifts as did Giuseppe Verdi. Renato, the baritone, has an aria in Act 3 of Un Ballo in Maschera that is a masterpiece of conflicted feelings, pain, betrayal, and revenge. Renato’s wife, Amelia, is in love with his best friend Riccardo the governor of colonial Massachusetts…


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Tutto Verdi: Simon Boccanegra

Tweet Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra in its revised 1881 version was staged by Parma’s Teatro Reggio in March of 2010. Verdi’s gloomy masterpieces is a specialized taste, the Met did not get to it until 1932 and has only done it 139 times. It’s libretto is awkwardly constructed and sometimes almost impossible to follow. For example,…


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Verdi Chords

Tweet One of the most distinctive characteristics of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas is his use of chords to resolve or punctuate the moments of greatest emotional and dramatic tension as his story reaches a crisis point. This simple device would seem within the grasp of almost any composer, but Verdi’s use of it is unique. Below are…


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Finale 6 – Nabucco Act 1

Tweet A few days ago I mentioned the resemblance of the act 1 finale of William Tell to Nabucco.  Here’s the part of Nabucco that seems very much like the Tell finale. It too occurs in the finale to Act 1. This number is constructed the same way as the Tell piece. An adagio concertato…


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Finale 4 – Macbeth Act 2

Tweet The finale to Act 1 of Verdi’s Macbeth is not the only great one in the opera. Like the previous one this finale is untouched by the 1865 revision. Macbeth has become unhinged by Banquo’s ghost whom only he can see. The ghost is a party crasher. Obviously his presence ruins the evening. Of…


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O Don Fatale

Tweet A supremely gifted mezzo-soprano can make a career out of singing the the great Verdi mezzo roles – Azucena in Il Trovatore, Eboli in Don Carlo, and Amneris in Aida. Eboli presents a an especially challenging role for the singer who portrays the spurned princess – the second of these three great mezzo parts. Eboli…


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Finale 3 – Macbeth Act 1

Tweet No composer wrote as many great operatic finales as did Giuseppe Verdi. His Macbeth is a creature of both his early and middle periods. Originally written in 1847 and first presented at Florence’s Teatro della Pergola in March of that year it was was extensively revised in 1865. This revised version was first performed…


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Il Trovatore in HD – 2015

Tweet Enrico Caruso’s famous quip that you needed to do Verdi’s Il Trovatore were the four greatest singers in the world was proven correct this afternoon by the Met’s HD telecast of the opera. When you have performers as good as the Met brought together for this show you realize what an extraordinary masterpiece Il Trovatore is and…


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The Verdi Requiem

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl59Gn602hg

Tweet The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra will present Verdi’s Messa di Requiem on October 16 and 17 at the Civic Center Theater. The program notes that I wrote for the occasion are below. Giuseppe Verdi thought that 19th century Italy had produced two cultural giants – Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) and Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873). The former literally invented…


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Otello and Racism

Tweet Otello is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito based on Shakespeare’s play Othello. Both the play and the opera’s libretto explicitly say that Otello (Othello) is a black man. The title character requires a dramatic tenor of extraordinary vocal power and stamina. Since the opera’s premiere in 1887 the only tenors able…


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