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Thread: Never-gets-old trope where heroine'd rather die for alpha male than live with beta

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    But she doesn't want him and it's his lack of shame about that which marks him as not having a conscience, where is his conscience during act two when he is torturing Tosca and gearing up to rape her?

    N.
    That's the whole point. His shame was NOT there because it was only summoned up as a result of his basic beliefs in a consecrated house of worship.
    In other words, though he actually has a conscience, as exhibited by his actions in the church, it is easily able to be forgotten and hidden in real life in order for him to continue his powerful stance in the community.
    Just because one desires a person they should not doesn't show a lack of conscience.

  2. #62
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Here's Del Monaco with Bastianini -



    I think "alpha" or "beta" talk is pretty trashy pop psychology mostly of interest to insecure young men. But I am interested in questions of how likable the different characters are supposed to be in Trovatore, and this video is one interesting example--what if the Manrico plays the role like an absolute eye-rolling loon?
    In general I feel Del Monaco has the whole package - good looks, fiery Italian temperament, charisma and heroic voice. I cannot comment on the exact production as I've only seen some bits of it. He's sometimes over the top in every sense but I'd much rather have an overacting Del Monaco than a more or less decent singer who doesn't act at all or whose acting is full of unnatural clichés. Overacting at least often means that the person enjoys being on stage and I'm more than sure that despite all his shortcomings, Del Monaco was one of those "all in" singers. I'm obliged to mention though that I'm biased as I really like Del Monaco's voice, despite his occasional shouting, and stage presence but I know there are many who'd disagree. Therefore I don't claim my views to be objective in any way .

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by VitellioScarpia View Post
    I think that both of you have a point. I think that you both are missing that people are not necessarily self-consistent because of the struggle among reason, emotion and instinct. Some behaviors spring from subconscious processes not well understood. Scarpia is a bigot and a psychopath. So, there are times where he will contemplate remorse (and feel it) and others when he will not.

    When Tosca screams earlier in the first act Tu non l'avrai stassera, giuro!, Scarpia reprovingly says to her In chiesa! That is not hypocrisy but a deep seated learned behavior that scandalizes him. The man is a cauldron of contradictions and he is both weak and cruel: his cruelty is necessary to him for self confirmation. He self reassures himself and appeases his fear by frightening others. That's what he means by Il tuo pianto era lava ai sensi miei. He is aroused by seeing that others are suffering because of him, and that he is not empathetic to their pain.
    Thank you for your interesting posits.
    Probably without meaning to, you are actually, by your very words, helping to make my case.
    No psychopath feels remorse or is a cauldron of contradictions. Nor are they weak or have any fears. They have no conscience to recognize these traits.
    The fact that you say Scarpia owns these above traits seems to make the case that he is indeed not a psychopath.
    I did acknowledge the fact that he exhibits certain traits of the psychopath, but as I said before, so do plenty of other people who are not actual psychopaths.

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  5. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    Thank you for your interesting posits.
    Probably without meaning to, you are actually, by your very words, helping to make my case.
    No psychopath feels remorse or is a cauldron of contradictions. Nor are they weak or have any fears. They have no conscience to recognize these traits.
    The fact that you say Scarpia owns these above traits seems to make the case that he is indeed not a psychopath.
    I did acknowledge the fact that he exhibits certain traits of the psychopath, but as I said before, so do plenty of other people who are not actual psychopaths.
    I think that he will feel remorse not in the sense of an empath but in the context that he may look bad by certain action and weaken his standing. But the feeling of regret is real although based exclusively on his needs. The needs of others, as you very well say, do not exist. That's why people like him are so disconcerting. Of course that's my reading of Scarpia, I do not profess to have the truth or certainly be trained in psychology (just in case someone asks for my certifications on the matter! ).

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  7. #65
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    Thank you for your interesting posits.
    Probably without meaning to, you are actually, by your very words, helping to make my case.
    No psychopath feels remorse or is a cauldron of contradictions. Nor are they weak or have any fears. They have no conscience to recognize these traits.
    The fact that you say Scarpia owns these above traits seems to make the case that he is indeed not a psychopath.
    I did acknowledge the fact that he exhibits certain traits of the psychopath, but as I said before, so do plenty of other people who are not actual psychopaths.
    In my opinion that's an oversimplification. Not all "psychopaths" are similar and a few have something to do with moral understanding - the problems rather begin with brain's biochemistry. Also, being a psychopath doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have conscience or inherent understanding of good and bad that to some extent springs from conscience. I guess Puccini didn't bother analysing the existence of Scarpia's conscience as Scarpia didn't care for morals nevertheless. Even if he had some sort of conscience, it wasn't of any meaningful importance to him. It's also important to keep in mind that we cannot always analyse characters the same way we analyse human psychology. Composers and writers often emphasise some certain symbolic traits in such a strong way that such characters would rarely exist in real human world.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Since Tosca is an opera and not a documentary or a biography, we might look to see whether Puccini has given Scarpia any music that might suggest an active conscience, or any side to his personality suggestive of empathy or any other virtuous quality. Does anyone hear that in the score? I don't, but I'm open to suggestions.
    Last edited by Woodduck; May-18-2020 at 20:58.

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  10. #67
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    By the way, I do not post my beliefs from any particular credentials of expertise in abnormal psychology. I am way too old to conjure up my past studies even though I minored in Abnormal Psychology back in the day.
    We all have different points of view on what is and what is not a psychopath.
    I actually do not believe that even Puccini was expert enough in psychological pursuits to give the proper perspective through the music.
    This is a very interesting discussion that probably has no definitive answer.

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  12. #68
    Senior Member Sieglinde's Avatar
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    Scarpia is Neutral Evil masquerading as Lawful Evil.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I believe Puccini was quite skilled enough in musical characterization to have expressed a sincere, sympathetic side to Scarpia had he intended to. All the great opera composers were capable of that; certainly Mozart, Verdi and Wagner were, and Puccini shows his capabilities elsewhere. I would almost say that Scarpia's lack of such a dimension is a flaw, or at least a mark of an inferior sensibility on Puccini's part, except for the fact that the character is so perfectly realized as what he is. Tosca isn't a profound opera, but it's one heck of a melodrama, and Scarpia is one terrifically awful villain.

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    Ha!

    Though he is chief of police which implies a preference for an order of some sort.

    I feel alignments of opera characters is a thread of itself.

  17. #71
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I believe Puccini was quite skilled enough in. musical characterization to have expressed a sincere, sympathetic side to Scarpia had he intended to. All the great opera composers were capable of that; certainly Mozart, Verdi and Wagner were, and Puccini shows his capabilities elsewhere. I would almost say that Scarpia's lack of such a dimension is a flaw, or at least a mark of an inferior sensibility on Puccini's part, except for the fact that the character is so perfectly realized as what he is. Tosca isn't a profound opera, but it's one heck of a melodrama, and Scarpia is one terrifically awful villain.
    Totally agree! Alberich is probably one of the best examples of such ambivalent evil character. Count di Luna seems to be a loose example of Verdi's Scarpia-type character. Differently from Scarpia though, di Luna has always striked me as a much more humane character who is just too strongly lead by his own emotions and desires but he is not thoroughly evil. Verdi wrote some quite nice music for him after all .
    Last edited by annaw; May-18-2020 at 21:55.

  18. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Totally agree! Alberich is probably one of the best examples of such ambivalent evil character. Count di Luna seems to be a loose example of Verdi's Scarpia-type character. Differently from Scarpia though, di Luna has always striked me as a much more humane character who is just too strongly lead by his own emotions and desires but he is not thoroughly evil. Verdi wrote some quite nice music for him after all .
    I agree with you. De Luna is an emotional, stubborn and avmisogyinist character. On top of that, he is a nobleman and, thus, feels entitled. He is jealous of Manrico and he sends him to be killed at the end because of a jealous rage and the betrayal of Leonora. However, his las words are Quale orror! when he realizes that he had just ordered the execution of his brother. Not a Scarpia or a Iago in my book.

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  20. #73
    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    In general I feel Del Monaco has the whole package - good looks, fiery Italian temperament, charisma and heroic voice. I cannot comment on the exact production as I've only seen some bits of it.
    I think you may have taken my post to be a criticism of MDM, it wasn't at all. This is my favorite video version of Trovatore and possibly my favorite audio version as well.

    It's subtitled on youtube, I highly recommend it. I also bought copies on DVD and CD for my collection in case the youtube version I linked disappears.

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  22. #74
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    I think you may have taken my post to be a criticism of MDM, it wasn't at all. This is my favorite video version of Trovatore and possibly my favorite audio version as well.

    It's subtitled on youtube, I highly recommend it. I also bought copies on DVD and CD for my collection in case the youtube version I linked disappears.
    Sorry, my bad, another wonderful misinterpretation from my side. But if YOU praise it then I guess I have to watch the full thing ! I really loved watching his Otello!
    Last edited by annaw; May-19-2020 at 04:53.

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