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

  1. #46
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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.
    No your not, I see what you mean, the other day I said to Fritz, I rather see then just sit down and listen.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    No your not, I see what you mean, the other day I said to Fritz, I rather see then just sit down and listen.
    I don't know if it makes a difference, but the only time I really sit down and listen is when I watch opera on DVD. Otherwise, I am listening a lot, probably 6+ hours per day, but while doing other things. I don't think I could just sit and listen apart from some activity be it watching or doing chores.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  3. #48
    Senior Member Seattleoperafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    I don't know if it makes a difference, but the only time I really sit down and listen is when I watch opera on DVD. Otherwise, I am listening a lot, probably 6+ hours per day, but while doing other things. I don't think I could just sit and listen apart from some activity be it watching or doing chores.
    I drive all day at my job and unless I watch something on Youtube, I only listen while I drive. My neighbors don't want to hear Nilsson's high C LOLOLOLOLOL

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  5. #49
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Here is the one I want.
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; Feb-07-2018 at 06:12.
    "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 Star's Avatar
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    Nit one of Puccini's best. The story seems anachronistic to English speakers, set in the Wild West with Cowboys singing Italian. also there are no real tuneful arias which Puccini was noted for. But I'll gave to dust down our copy of Tebakdi singing Minnie and have another listen

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Another interesting article here. Couple of quotes (page 257--no it is only a chapter from a book, so starts at page 250):

    But many details of Fanciulla’s plot—beyond the question of transmission language—are troublesome to American audiences in that they bump up against notions of the West inherited from over a hundred years of cinematic mythmaking.
    In fact, however, the historical West of the Gold Rush era—as recorded in first-hand accounts by J.S. Holliday and William Downie—bears more of a relation to the opera’s libretto than to Hollywoodiana.
    "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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  10. #52
    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Star View Post
    Nit one of Puccini's best. The story seems anachronistic to English speakers, set in the Wild West with Cowboys singing Italian.
    With that reasoning the only Puccini operas that are not odd are Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi.

    I saw a really gloomy version of it on TV once with Nina Stemme. I turned it off after the first act and thought Puccini must have injured his head after the car accident.

    To be fair I haven´t given that opera a fair chance.
    Last edited by Sloe; Feb-14-2018 at 00:22.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Fanciulla is my favorite Puccini. I like the harmonic and orchestral inventiveness, I like a heroine who won't be victimized, and I like the whole nutty idea of an opera about the Wild West written by an Italian influenced by Debussy and Wagner. Fanciulla has gained in popularity and deserves to take up more space in the repertoire. Who needs another mediocre Boheme or Tosca?

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  14. #54
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Here is something to ponder. If Mr. Johnson had escaped without being shot after Minne kicked him out of the cabin, would he have gone back to running his gang? The state of mind he was in as he left that trailer seems to be one of hopelessness. So maybe it is a good thing he was shot and fell back into the cabin to be rescued from his former way of life.
    "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 DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleoperafan View Post
    I drive all day at my job and unless I watch something on Youtube, I only listen while I drive. My neighbors don't want to hear Nilsson's high C LOLOLOLOLOL
    I certainly hope you don't watch YouTube when you drive!

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    It is looking like my two favorites of the nine Fanciulla DVDs are these:




    But they all are very good. The other seven are:

    - Pink Trailer with Eva-Maria Westbroek
    - Stemme/Kaufmann (Stemme much better in the one pictured above, just based on she looks weird in this one, like Raggedy Ann)
    - Deborah Voigt
    - Stella (the old 1963 set that I haven't actually watched yet)
    - Zampieri/Domingo
    - Neblett/Domingo
    - Daniels/Domingo
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  17. #57
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Fascinating discussion by Barbara Daniels about La Fanciulla del West:
    "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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  19. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    Fascinating discussion by Barbara Daniels about La Fanciulla del West:
    Nice. From her accounts of accidents on set it seems the west was even wilder than I realized.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Fanciulla is my favorite Puccini. I like the harmonic and orchestral inventiveness, I like a heroine who won't be victimized, and I like the whole nutty idea of an opera about the Wild West written by an Italian influenced by Debussy and Wagner. Fanciulla has gained in popularity and deserves to take up more space in the repertoire. Who needs another mediocre Boheme or Tosca?
    I think you would like this. Musically (instruments and voices) it strongly reminds me of La Fanciulla del West.


    Of it, Christopher Howell of MusicWeb writes,
    It is a satisfying story, likely to remain relevant for as long as dictators are still with us, and Mascagni has illustrated it with music of dark and menacing power. Set arias are practically non-existent, but the declamation itself is melodic as well as dramatic and the few moments of lyrical expansion are often of great beauty. Though recognisably the work of Mascagni, he has brought a touch of steel into his style, and as far as I am concerned has done so with complete success. I see it as an enlargement of his range, not a negation of his natural talent.
    "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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    I'm seeing a Fanciulla in Budapest on Tuesday. The last performance of this was by Opera North (UK) a couple of years ago and it was excellent and a critical and public hit. Clever and unfussy staging and great cast direction, i.e. there is a large cast that need to move and act in a natural manner. I picked up the audience vibe that non-regular-operagoers enjoyed it very much, which makes me think that with its appealing plot it plays very well to an uncommitted audience if the story is well presented and acted. For a regular opera fan it needs a good conductor as this opera is all about the score, rather than the arias. It's a great opera for two mature singers (i.e. 40/50's) who have some chemistry together.

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