Category Archives: Verdi

Finale 10 – Falstaff (Tutto nel mondo è burla)

Tweet This one is a triple finale. It’s the end of the 3rd act, the end of the opera, and the end of Verdi’s career as a composer of operas. Verdi had written only one comedy prior to Falstaff – Un Giorno di Regno in 1840. Thus 53 years separated it from Falstaff. Verdi’s final…


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Tutto Verdi: La Forza del Destino

Tweet Parma’s production of Verdi’s epic opera is one of the weakest in its march through all the master’s operas. Forza is often criticized as the weakest of Verdi’s latter masterpieces because of its episodic nature, its length (when given uncut), and because of its “dry” patches. In my opinion, none of these criticisms apply…


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Recording of the Week – Birgit Nilsson 10 CD Set

Tweet Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005) was one of the vocal marvels of the 20th century. No recording, and she made many, can come close to the impact she made in performance. A voice of limitless power and reserve, she could be heard over the loudest orchestral din. Yet she could modulate her tone to whatever the…


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Tutto Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera

Tweet   Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera received a splendid run in October 2011 at Parma’s Teatro Regio. This DVD was taken from the performances listed below. I can’t help wondering why it took six shows to put the recording together, but the result is fine. Much of the credit for the success of this…


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Un Ballo in Maschera in Munich

Tweet The Bavarian State Opera is streaming its new production of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Mashera from its website until March 27. By European standards this is a pretty tame staging. The time was moved to around 1930. The place was neither colonial Massachusetts nor Sweden, but some indeterminate place in Operaland. In general, the staging…


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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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