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Thread: Why is La fanciulla del west not a popular opera?

  1. #31
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Maybe this would make La Fanciulla del West a more popular production? It is a book. The Amazon summary says,
    Puccini shows us youthful love and burning desire in a joyous evening of drama and delight. In this adaptation, Minnie runs a dilapidated Soho internet cafe, populated by Eastern European immigrants and targeted by the Albanian underworld. When she falls for Vik, a gang leader intent on stealing from the cafe, their lives take a turn for the dramatic.
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Jan-29-2018 at 17:54.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    So far I have ordered (some received) five Fanciulla DVDs and One CD set:

    La Fanciulla Domingo Daniels DVD
    La Fanciulla Domingo Neblett DVD
    La Fanciulla Domingo Zampieri DVD & CD
    La Fanciulla Kaufmann Stemme DVD
    La Fanciulla Giordani Voight DVD

    I do believe there are a couple more CD sets that would be great to have:

    Tebaldi as Minne (there seems to be more than one performance with Tebaldi on CD)
    Eleanor Steber as Minne (I heard she is even better than Tebaldi, but some of the releases are better sound than others)

    As for DVDs, I don't see any others that appeal to me at this time.
    Maybe Carol Neblett, who sang the role for Mehta on DG, sang the role too often, as her career didn't last that long. For quite a while she was the Minnie to hear.

    Personally I think she is better than either Tebaldi or Nilsson. She has Nilsson's security on top and Tebaldi's warmth in the middle register, plus the dramatic measure of the part. I heard her sing it at Covent Garden with Domingo, and she even looked convincing. The DG recording is the one to have and there is also a DVD of the splendid Covent Garden production with her and Domingo. Warmly recommended.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Quite often overlooked (possibly due to Frazzoni not being a household name), the following live performance with Corelli and Gobbi in the tenor and baritone roles is not to be missed:

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...lbum_id=151264

    N.

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  6. #34
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Quite often overlooked (possibly due to Frazzoni not being a household name), the following live performance with Corelli and Gobbi in the tenor and baritone roles is not to be missed:

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...lbum_id=151264

    N.
    I checked that one out. Very good, but the sound is not as good as I would like.

    What about the set with Eva Marton as Minne?
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Rather than just saying, "Duplicate Post Deleted," I figured to do something more fun with it, so how about this. Here is one of my favorite CD covers for this opera:
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Jan-29-2018 at 23:36.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    I checked that one out. Very good, but the sound is not as good as I would like.

    What about the set with Eva Marton as Minne?
    The sound is ok for a 50s live recording, but not everybody can tolerate vintage recordings.

    I don't know Marton's Minnie. Happy listening.

    N.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    The sound is ok for a 50s live recording, but not everybody can tolerate vintage recordings.
    Very true. It would be a worthy addition to any La Fanciulla collection.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Found a sung-in-English set but not sure I want it.
    Maybe in MP3s when they have their next big sale.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    As far as Minne goes, I think it is a toss up between these two. I might lean more towards Nilsson, but then you have to figure Johnson in and it is pretty hard to beat Domingo. Too bad Kaufmann is not on CD.


    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    After watching my second video of this opera I get the distinct impression that Nick, the bartender at the Polka saloon, gave Minne a heads up on the lynch mob getting together to do in Johnson. Remember how he told (and threatened) the Indian to make sure he takes a long time to put the noose together? That apparently was so Nick could step out and give Minne a heads up. Else, how did Minne know to come out there at that specific time?
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Default If you are a fan of Wagner's opera, they why not check out La Fanciulla del West?

    Consider this:


    Fanciulla is surrounded on many levels by a series of Wagnerian suggestions. There is a narrative line which brings about moral redemption, as in Parsifal, although cleansed of mystic incrustations and of the Wagnerian mythology of purity: in Minnie’s harsh analysis, the men remain “outlaws and cheats”: the “gamemaster” Rance, the true “outlaw” Johnson/Ramerrez, the “mistress of the flophouse and of gambling” Minnie. There is a trace of the union of Sigmund e Siglinde in the embrace of the two protagonists who ignore the gusts of wind that batter their shack, but it is only fleeting. There is the evocation of Minnie in Valkyrie’s clothing the instant she bursts onto the scene of Johnson’s hanging, “on horseback, scantily clad, her hair to the wind,” and heralded by a “savage cry.” And there are musical reverberations that permeate a few key moments in the score. One of these affects Minnie’s motif – the vibrant and fortissimo exclamation that announces her first appearance in Act I – which, due to its beginning interval on a descending seventh as well as its melodic contour, alludes to the leitmotif associated with Gutrune in Gotterdämmerung and, in particular, to the variant thereof categorized in guides (from Hans von Wolzogen onward) as the “theme of the treachery of love.” Another reflects the reiterated use of the opening of the initial motif found in Tristan und Isolde: a commonplace Wagnerism in Italian opera, widely adopted by Puccini in Manon Lescaut, was the use of the related Tristan Chord. The four notes of which it is composed (a, f, e, d-sharp in Wagner’s original), currently classified as a “theme of suffering”, in Fanciulla appear for the first time in the final duet of Act I, at the point when Johnson attempts to mollify Minnie, who is bent on defending the miners’ gold with her life (“Oh, non temete, nessuno ardirà!”). After which, in Act II, with a harmonization structured on the tritone and a messa in sequenza in the ostinato form which reinforces the original intention of the sorrowful motif, it orchestrally highlights Minnie’s anguish over Johnson’s fate: the episode in which she succors the wounded Johnson (“Su, su, su, presto! Su, salvati!…”), the scene in which she pleads with the merciless Rance (“Aspettate, non può”), the dramatic, final bet (“Una partita a poker!”) until the act closes, in the convulsive moment of exuberance mixed with a desperate cry (“Ah! È mio”).
    Source (see part 5): http://www.operatoday.com/content/20...olors_of_l.php
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    Consider this:




    Source (see part 5): http://www.operatoday.com/content/20...olors_of_l.php
    Not an easy article to read at all points (translation problem?) but interesting.

    There's actually a great deal of Wagner's influence in Puccini. He kept scores of Tristan and Parsifal on his piano to inspire him, and imagined a final love duet for Turandot and Calaf which was to equal in scope Tristan and Isolde's.

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    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    I'm not crazy about the music nor he story, and the setting just doesn't get me excited about the opera. I would never pay to see it again. It is difficult like Turandot without the thrills of Turandot. I guess I am shallow.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    I'm not crazy about the music nor he story, and the setting just doesn't get me excited about the opera. I would never pay to see it again. It is difficult like Turandot without the thrills of Turandot. I guess I am shallow.
    I don't know. Maybe it simply boils down to being a great love story, which is also the case for another of my favorite operas, Flotow's Martha.

    I do recall reading that the parts in Fanciulla can be very difficult to sing and so it is not often performed because not many singers are up to it.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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  23. #45
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    “It goes against a century’s worth of cinematic myths about the Old West. Instead of a strong, silent cowboy rescuing a helpless heroine, we have an emotionally vulnerable bandit rescued by a gun-toting, poker-playing, independent woman. But that’s actually much truer to history.”
    ...
    Minnie, the fearless title character of “Fanciulla” and one of the few Puccini heroines left breathing at the final curtain, spawned a line of similarly strong, feisty, unorthodox American heroines. The leading women in Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah,” Douglas Moore’s “Ballad of Baby Doe,” Jack Beeson’s “Lizzie Borden,” Marc Blitzstein’s “Regina,” Richard Danielpour’s “Margaret Garner,” Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking” and Mark Adamo’s “Little Women” may all be counted among Minnie’s heirs.
    And much more interesting information in,
    When Puccini Rode Tall In the Saddle, (NYT DEC. 3, 2010)
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Feb-05-2018 at 04:51.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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