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Thread: Arrigo Boito

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Default Arrigo Boito

    Arrigo Boito
    (Naples, 1842 - 1918)

    Italian composer, writer and librettist.

    He studied at and graduated from the Conservatory of Music in Milan. In 1861 he won a bursary to study in Paris, and there he met important figures in the literary and musical world such as Victor Hugo, Hector Berlioz, Gioacchino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi. While in the French capital he conceived the idea of writing operas on the subjects of Faust and Nero. After travelling in other European countries (France, Belgium, Germany, England, and Poland), he returned to live in Milan. There he collaborated with several newspapers as literary critic, joined the Scapigliatura group and wrote the libretto of Mefistofele, inspired by Goethe's Faust. The opera was performed at the Scala in 1868, but was coldly received by both the public and the critics, who accused Boito of imitating Wagner. Boito began a lengthy rewriting process, and the opera was presented in 1875 in Bologna, this time with success. Besides the librettos for his own operas, Boito wrote Amleto (1865) for Franco Faccio, La Falce for Alfredo Catalani, and, under the anagram-pseudonym of Tobia Gorrio, La Gioconda for Amilcare Ponchielli, first performed in 1876.

    In 1879, the publisher Giulio Ricordi suggested to Giuseppe Verdi to collaborate with Boito for the composition of an opera based on Shakespeare's tragedy Othello. Boito had already worked with Verdi, writing for him the text for the Hymn to the Nations and later working on the revision of the libretto for Simon Boccanegra (1881).

    Among Boito's literary works, the Libro dei Versi, L'alfier nero and Re Orso are worthy of mention.

    In 1881 he began his collaboration with Verdi, first with the revision of Simon Boccanegra, and later with the librettos for Otello (1887) and Falstaff (1893).

    In 1924, his unfinished opera Nerone was performed posthumously at the Scala Theatre in Milan.

    From 1887 to 1898 Boito was sentimentally attached to the actress Eleonora Duse, for whom he translated Anthony and Cleopatra, Macbeth and part of Romeo and Juliet.
    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I've got three versions of Mefistofele on CD







    I can't choose between them. Love them all.
    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    And this DVD (of course)

    Ann

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    Senior Member deggial's Avatar
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    how very strange! Just a few hours ago I thought about asking which other recordings of Mefistofele I should check out as I listened to the Serafin one yesterday and liked it a lot. You done saved me the trouble Next time I have a question I will try to beam it at you
    Last edited by deggial; Mar-03-2014 at 20:26.

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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    I think Mefistofele's garden scene is one of opera's greatest quartets. Very ambitious, entertaining and musically exciting.

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    I've got three versions of Mefistofele on CD







    I can't choose between them. Love them all.
    ---
    I can't choose between the covers! Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.-- though I do of course have the Caballe.
    "Let me have my own way in exactly everything, and a sunnier and more pleasant creature does not exist." - Thomas Carlyle

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Took me ages to like Falstaff but it's now one of my favourites. And this is a good one.



    "Tutto nel mondo è burla.
    L'uom è nato burlone,
    La fede in cor gli ciurla,
    Gli ciurla la ragione.
    Tutti gabbati! Irride
    L'un l'altro ogni mortal.
    Ma ride ben chi ride
    La risata final."
    Ann

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    Senior Member Bardamu's Avatar
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    Unfinished at his death yes but Nerone was his masterpiece in the music field.

    Mefistofele is a good listening but often happens to me to think he tried too hard with melody in an almost amateurish way.

    L'altra notte + La divina Muzio = <3



    EDIT:
    A shoutout for Catalani's La falce, probably my favorite opera from the lucchese composer.
    Last edited by Bardamu; Mar-04-2014 at 16:00.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Took me ages to like Falstaff but it's now one of my favourites. And this is a good one.



    "Tutto nel mondo è burla.
    L'uom è nato burlone,
    La fede in cor gli ciurla,
    Gli ciurla la ragione.
    Tutti gabbati! Irride
    L'un l'altro ogni mortal.
    Ma ride ben chi ride
    La risata final."
    This is the best one !
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Junior Member Romantiker's Avatar
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    There is a free download of Neronehere: http://www.liberliber.it/musica/b/boito/index.php It's of decent quality for a 1957 live recording. This thread inspired me to listen to two versions by Maria Callas of "L'altra note." Her 1954 recording for EMI has been truly a revelation for me for the musicak and dramatic depths of that aria.

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I've got this. Haven't read all of it yet, just dipped into it but it's charming and informative.

    Ann

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    Senior Member Revenant's Avatar
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    William Weaver! I used to read a lot of stuff by him, back in the day.
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Today, 5 March 1868: Mefistofele received its première performance at La Scala.


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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    I revisited the Samuel Ramey Mefistofele DVD last night. For its age (1989?) the picture quality is pretty good.

    This is what opera is all about. A grand staging, big voices, big tunes and a charismatic performer in the title role.

    (And nostalgic memories for me of visits to San Francisco's Opera House)

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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    Fans of Boito may be interested in this instance where some of his words from Falstaff, translated back into English seem to have caught on and become widely attributed to Shakespeare - usually Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2 - which it certainly isn't. Although it is from Falstaff act 2 scene 2.

    Fenton:
    Come ti vidi
    M’innamorai,
    E tu sorridi
    Perchè lo sai.

    which seems to have become:

    When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.

    It seems also to have inspired a great amount of tacky merchandise.
    Last edited by Don Fatale; Apr-22-2014 at 00:14.

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