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Thread: Most Absurd Plot

  1. #31
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    Very interesting discussion - I am intrigued by Zhdanov's explanation for Trovatore's bizarre backplot. It's plausible, and like others here I'm also curious whether or not the source play made this explanation clear, as well as whether or not Verdi's contemporary audiences understood it this way.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, we can't leave out the near-fatal flaw in the three great Mozart/Da Ponte operas: the idea that people can put on a disguise and become unrecognizable (even at seduction-level close-up) to the people who know them best. It just seems like this would be really hard to pull off in the real world. Maybe candlelight made it easier.
    Last edited by marceliotstein; Dec-02-2019 at 14:49.

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  3. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by marceliotstein View Post
    At the risk of stating the obvious, we can't leave out the near-fatal flaw in the three great Mozart/Da Ponte operas: the idea that people can put on a disguise and become unrecognizable (even at seduction-level close-up) to the people who know them best. It just seems like this would be really hard to pull off in the real world. Maybe candlelight made it easier.
    Don Giovanni and Nozze have the excuse that the disguise scenes take place at night in places where there is little light. I think the Nozze is fine (I've seen productions where the characters wear masks and have cloaks with hoods) as the Count has no reason to think that the woman hidding in the dark in his wife's clothes is anyone other than Susanna. The Don Giovanni scenes are a bit more complex, but when I played Leporello we made sure that Donna Elvira never saw his face. However the scene will be as convincing as how similar the singers cast as Giovanni and Leporello are to each other.

    When it comes to Cosi, it really does stretch anyone's imagination, nor can I see a way that a director can get around it. It's not as if you can make Fiordiligi and Dorabella blind!

    N.

  4. #33
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    La Sonnambula has a remarkably thin story - the music is gorgeous all the same

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    Senior Member Sieglinde's Avatar
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    There's also Amelia's very see-through veil and the fact her own husband can't recognize her. Has he never seen her coat? I know it's pitch black and away from the the city lights but come on.

    Maybe Renato just has terrible eyesight XD

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  7. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sieglinde View Post
    There's also Amelia's very see-through veil and the fact her own husband can't recognize her. Has he never seen her coat?

    Just curious is this written somewhere in the libretto that her veil is definitely see-through? Thinking of a practical aspect of an aristocratic lady traveling alone (by foot or in a carriage waiting for her several meters away?) to the city outskirts, at midnight, in her expensive dress, several centuries ago, I don't think it would be entirely safe even nowadays, with a perfect public transport system, CCTVs. I always imagine Amelia would borrow some modest dress from her maid, to look more appropriate/be safe in such an isolated area, frequented probably only by outlaws. (It could be more reasonable for her to dress as a man for safety reasons, but this niche has been already occupied.)

    Though with Un ballo being based on a real-life event, as for me it doesn't feel entirely just for this opera to score high on this list. It's amazing to know that the protagonist was such a generous noble person and really forgave his assassins on his deathbed, so his (probably typical operatic?) carefree character is actually in touch with reality.

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    Senior Member Sieglinde's Avatar
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    Well, Anckarström was executed IRL, so Gustavo probably wasn't that forgiving (he did live a few days after being shot). Also, according to Swedish people I talked to, the real Gustavo was famously gay.

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    Yep, I memorized it wrong, his Wiki page says that on his deathbed he received apologies from many of his political enemies (=Renato's apologies). I think no one could expect this or any other opera to be a documentary film, still in essence and in some details it reflects life (perhaps even more than an average opera plotline?): he heard a prophecy that he would be assassinated, the letter warning him about the plot was written by a male officer, not by a lady; IRL he opted to dashingly ignore it as well. I guess the opera wouldn't make it without a love story, so the libretto had to invent Amelia, the likes of Oskar obviously couldn't be realistically depicted as the king's sweetheart.

  10. #38
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I was watching the broadcast of the Magic Flute from Glyndebourne yesterday. An absurd plot made even more absurd by being set in a kitchen with Sarastro as head chef!

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    Speaking of absurd settings, the Dutch National Opera set Vivaldi's Juditha Triumphans as a staged opera in Nazi Germany!!!

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Any opera can be made absurd in an absurd production. That's a different matter for a different thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Any opera can be made absurd in an absurd production. That's a different matter for a different thread.

    A thread perhaps best not begun, unless it is to provide warnings of what to avoid.
    Media lies and dishonest governors managed to get Americans give up their liberties over a virus with a >99% survival rate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    A thread perhaps best not begun, unless it is to provide warnings of what to avoid.
    We've had threads about absurd productions. Sadly, there's endless material for discussion.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Vivaldi's Juditha Triumphans was actually an oratorio but who am I to split hairs?
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    I promise not to further hijack this thread, but ^^^ was part of my point

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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I was watching the broadcast of the Magic Flute from Glyndebourne yesterday. An absurd plot
    the Die Zauberflöte plot is no absurd, of course... far from that, it is being one of the most important & meaningful operas ever written, because it narrates of the conflict between the English monarchy and German freemasons, represented by The Queen of The Night and Sarastro characters, respectively. Tamino & Papageno characters are shown in contrast with one another, however both get rewarded in the end - to each his own, despite Papageno seems to deserve only punishment, still he finds understanding with generous & victorious Sarastro temple wise men.

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