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Thread: È la storia di Tristano, è una cronaca d'amor!

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    Senior Member NickFuller's Avatar
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    Default È la storia di Tristano, è una cronaca d'amor!

    In my forays into obscure opera composers, I came across one Ricciardo Vagniero (1863-1933), a turn-of-the-century imitator of Wagner.

    Vagniero wrote Tristano e Besotta, an unromantic look at young love and the realities of married life. The couple have great sex in Act I - and seven children by the end of Act II. The difficulties of supporting a family of nine cause the parents to go mad. A great favourite with Toscanini, and memorably filmed by Visconti.

    Verdi had Vagniero in mind when he complained that the modern generation had forgotten the ways of Palestrina. These musical young Turks - the elderly, increasingly conservative maestro felt - should get the hell out of Italy. "Tornate all'Antiochia, e sarà un progresso."

    The first Italian production of Lohengrin in his native Bologna in the 1870s opened the adolescent Vagniero's eyes to music drama; so great was his devotion he changed his name (from Massimino Daia).

    Vagnerio's other works include:

    Dammi un anello, per l’amor di Dio!: A woman sits waiting for her lover to ring her up and propose. Nothing happens for four days, so she dumps him. Divided into four parts:
    L’oro di Sanremo (she hints about engagement rings);
    La valchiria (she goes to sleep waiting for her boyfriend);
    La vittoria della pace (she’s still asleep); and
    Il vento si rompe sulle nomi (he turns up with a suspicious case of amnesia, claims not to remember who she is, and marries another woman, so she has him bumped off).


    Notte con un cigno: This romance between the god Zeus and the mother of Helen of Troy is a torrid tale of farmyard passion and fowl play. The most famous piece is the aria “Portami dal tuo capo”…


    La prova sulla montagna verrucosa: An early example of a public health warning disguised as entertainment. The tenor worries he might have caught something from his mistress’s mons Veneris – to the dismay of his demure fiancée. Caused a riot in Paris.


    L’olandese fugante: One for animal lovers – a keeshond named Robber runs away from his master, and has adventures in the town. The lyrics consist largely of "Bau bau!" - and singers are likely to suffer from the Bayreuth bark. (Or, worse, the dreaded J.C. bark.)


    I maestri cantori di Napoli: An amusing look behind the scenes at the Teatro di San Carlo, and an homage to Rossini.
    The plot focuses on Rossini’s relationship with the impresario Barbaja and his mistress Isabella Colbran (later Mme Rossini), and the struggle between high art and popular entertainment. The score also quotes extensively from Rossini’s operas (e.g. “Di tanti palpiti” from Tancredi).
    Vagniero wrote the work for the Swan (see above) of Pesaro - who, alas, was dead by then.
    "All he saw, in the first flower of his teeming youth, was but the harvesting of Death. He saw with the keen insight of young Joy-in-life a garish corpse... Driven by this prickling sense of Life, he tore the cerecloths from the corpse, as one intent on spying out the secret of its former being."
    Vagniero's attempt to animate said corpse with steam-driven pistons, cranks, valves, gears, several thousand volts of electricity, and robotic swans failed disastrously.
    It was, though, the first appearance of steampunk band the Ungrateful Dead.


    Persiflagio: A light comedy, with a bevy of beautiful flower maidens (le ragazze di Floradora), and a famous laughing scene ("È la storia amorosa tanto favolosa"). Also: SWANS!


    Three operas are seldom done:

    Le fate, inspired by the Ricci Bros.' Crispino e il comare;

    La commedia degli errori, a Shakespearean skit riding on the coat-tails of Verdi's Falstaff. Famous for the improv ensemble: a virtuoso piece where the cast interpolate numbers from any other operas they can think of, and have a punch-up;

    Rienzi, ultima tribuna di Roma, a historical pageant, devoted to Mussolini
    Last edited by NickFuller; Sep-12-2018 at 01:59.
    Under this playful, boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless, sadistic MANIAC.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    It's about time someone got around to this composer, and there was no question about who would do it.

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFuller View Post
    L’olandese fugante: One for animal lovers – a keeshond named Robber runs away from his master, and has adventures in the town. The lyrics consist largely of "Bau bau!" - and singers are likely to suffer from the Bayreuth bark. (Or, worse, the dreaded J.C. bark.)
    Apparently the Keeshond ran away to live on a barge because his master kept calling him a keesh-ond instead of kase-hond
    Last edited by Becca; Sep-12-2018 at 06:12.

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    I really can't understand why anyone would have any interest in this Vagnerio chap when you could be discovering the undeservedly forgotten works of Wolfgango Mozartia, who, as everyone knows, was the greatest parody opera composer ever invented. Although we are all different, I suppose.

    N.

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    How very interesting. Am considering applying to some local foundations here and abroad, to finance further research and performances of this overlooked, yet fascinating composer.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Sep-12-2018 at 15:29.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    How very interesting. Am considering applying to some local foundations here and abroad, to finance further research and performances of this overlooked, yet fascinating composer.
    It should surprise no one that it's quite difficult to get financial support for the production of works by forgotten composers. I've been trying for years to find a funding source for a premiere production of the sole extant work for the stage by Ignaz Ditterwitter von Lippenschmacher (1770-1778), Down in the Dumps with Flora and Stan, the revolutionary "Oper fur singen und spielen" which presaged the "rescue opera" tradition and all-too-obviously inspired the work of Lippenschmacher's exact contemporary and boyhood companion, Ludwig van Beethoven.

    It's certainly true that there are textual difficulties and potential problems of production with this opera. It exists in two versions, the first of which is dated 1773 and is titled Flora and Stan and Leo and Nora and Marcy and Lena and Jacky and Rocky and Bizarro. One potential barrier to production is the opera's length: based on Lippenschmacher's tempo markings, scholars estimate that the opera would require between nine and ten hours to perform. There are also textual choices to be made: a number of the arias are probably unsingable by any actual human being, and the composer made thirteen attempts to compose a satisfactory overture, of which all but five are lost. Fortunately, the finest of them, a dramatic tone poem in expanded cyclic sonata-rondo-variation form which develops contrapuntally the melodies of all fifty-seven numbers of the opera and lasts 49 minutes, is directed to be played between Acts 10 and 11 (which is certainly an aesthetic miscalculation attributable to the composer's limited theatrical experience, but which might at least afford the cast an opportunity to relax and recover backstage and play a hand of whist or down a few hard-earned flagons of ale before Acts 12 through 15).

    Evidently the original version of the opera was accepted (with grave reservations) for performance but abandoned after two rehearsals because it required so much cross-dressing that the cast members couldn't remember who was supposed to rescue whom, and Lippenschmacher was told to go home and tighten up the work a bit. The revised version is unquestionably more compact and more viable theatrically, but Lippenschmacher, who died of what was thought to be food poisoning and whose last words were "You, Ludwig?" was destined never to hear it performed.

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    I've been trying for years to find a funding source for a premiere production of the sole extant work for the stage by Ignaz Ditterwitter von Lippenschmacher (1770-1778), Down in the Dumps with Flora and Stan, the revolutionary "Oper fur singen und spielen" which presaged the "rescue opera" tradition and all-too-obviously inspired the work of Lippenschmacher's exact contemporary and boyhood companion, Ludwig van Beethoven (...) It exists in two versions, the first of which is dated 1773 and is titled Flora and Stan and Leo and Nora and Marcy and Lena and Jacky and Rocky and Bizarro.
    Are you sure about the composition dates, since I seem to remember reading somewhere that parts of this genius´work were actually composed while he was still in his mother´s womb?
    Last edited by joen_cph; Sep-12-2018 at 21:29.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    Are you sure about the composition dates, since I seem to remember reading somewhere that parts of this genius´work were actually composed while he was still in his mother´s womb?
    That's a bit of urban legend, probably started by his father, Gotthilf Meinerheiner von Lippenschmacher, and his mother, Annehannelorelinde Bustigbrust nee Suessmilcher, who advertised their son even before he was born as the most prodigious prodigy in Europe. But it's unlikely that the prenatal Igiwigi (as he was called by his family) was capable of composing anything more complex than the piano sonatas his mother played while pregnant to ensure that her son would profit from the Mozart effect.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Sep-13-2018 at 03:24.

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    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    Are you sure about the composition dates, since I seem to remember reading somewhere that parts of this genius´work were actually composed while he was still in his mother´s womb?
    I too have applied for a grant, for a multi year PhD research project into how the son stole this whole work from Annehannelorelinde and how this story is nothing but a flimsy cover to one of the most flagrant examples of the patriarchal society seeking to write women composers out of history.
    I am confident I will get all the funds I need.
    Last edited by Belowpar; Sep-13-2018 at 08:44.

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