Giuseppe Verdi


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Giacomo Puccini

SATURDEE OPRY LINKS 55: Farewell (Sniff) Edition

Dame Maggie Teyte                            Jose Cura (A Caucasian Otello? What next, a Caucasian "Butterfly?")

Saturdee Opry Links Overture!

Die Fledermaus, Johann Strauss 

Today we present songs of farewell. Here is. . ."Addio, Fiorito Asil," or "Farewell, flowery refuge," from Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," in which the impressionable scoundrel, Pinkerton, bids farewell to Japan---and poor Butterfly, to whom he will never return. Sung here by the great Mario del Monaco, the man who could not sing softly. (But who would want him to?) 
Setting: Butterfly's house
Synopsis: Pinkerton comes to Butterfly's house and, after speaking to Suzuki, decides that it would be too painful to say goodbye to Butterfly directly. He bids adieu to the house in which he and Butterfly spent many happy hours.

Here is "Addio del Passato," or "Farewell to the past," from Verdi's "La Traviata," in which poor, terminally ill Violetta sings a farewell to happiness. Maria Callas. 
Setting: Violetta's bedroom
Synopsis: Violetta is now poor and about to die. She receives a letter from Alfredo's father saying that Alfredo has discovered why she lied about her love for him and is coming to her. She knows that it is too late, though, and sings a farewell to her happiness with Alfredo.

Toward the end of Puccini's "La Boheme," Mimi has collapsed on the staircase to the attic garret, and is carried inside by her friends. In her last moments, she says that her hands are cold. In order to buy her something for warmth, Musetta pawns her jewelry and Colline decides to pawn his beloved old overcoat, to which he sings farewell. This is "Vecchia Zimarra," or "old coat," here sung in an Australia Opera production by one David Parkin. With English subtitles. 

Here is a lovely rarity, the aria, "Adieu, cher Louise," from the 18th century opera comique, "Le Deserteur," by one Pierre Alexandre Monsigny. No translation available, but none, really, is needed. The soprano is Dame Maggie Teyte, who specialized in French song. 
About Maggie Teyte: 
About the opera: 

"May the wind be gentle." A lovely sentiment, especially in Southern California, home of the devil's own Santa Anas. From Mozart's utterly insanely plotted 'Cosi Fan Tutte," here we have soldiers who pretend they are going off to war (long story having to do with proving romantic fidelity.) As they leave, one Alfonso (who has bet the soldiers that their women will be unfaithful) and two fiances, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, bid them farewell. Despite the absurdity of the circumstance, the aria---trio, actually---is one of the most lovely in all opera. "Soave sia il vento." Here is a clip from the 1988 film, with Edita Gruberova (Fiordiligi), Delores Ziegler (Dorabella), Ferruccio Furlanetto (Guglielmo.) Trio begins at 1:23 in. 
Gentle be the breeze,
Calm be the waves,
And every element
Smile in favour

On their wish.
Summary: In a cafe, Ferrando and Guglielmo (two officers) express certainty that their fiancées (Dorabella and Fiordiligi, respectively) will be eternally faithful. Don Alfonso expresses skepticism and claims that there is no such thing as a faithful woman. He lays a wager with the two officers, claiming he can prove in a day's time that those two, like all women, are fickle. The wager is accepted: the two officers will pretend to have been called off to war; soon thereafter they will return in disguise and each attempt to seduce the other's lover. The scene shifts to the two women, who are praising their men (duet: Ah guarda sorella—"Ah look sister"). Alfonso arrives to announce the bad news: the officers have been called off to war. Ferrando and Guglielmo arrive, brokenhearted, and bid farewell (quintet: Sento, o Dio, che questo piede è restio—"I feel, oh God, that my foot is reluctant"). As the boat with the men sails off to sea, Alfonso and the sisters wish them safe travel (trio: Soave sia il vento—"May the wind be gentle").

From the opera, "Manon," by Jules Massenet, this is "Adieu, notre petite table," (Goodbye, our little table"), but sung in Italian by Mirella Freni, in a wonderful clip from 1966. Note: the aria, here titled "Addio, o nostro picciol desco," begins at 2:15. There is a preceding declaration. 
Setting: Apartment of Chevalier Des Grieux, Paris, France, 18th century
Synopsis: Manon has been told by a nobleman that her love Des Grieux will soon be kidnapped by his father's men in order to get him away from her. She knows that the happy days they have spent in Des Grieux's apartment will soon be at an end and takes the opportunity to bid adieu to the table at which she and her love ate many meals together.

And here it is in Francais, sung by Maria Callas late in her career:

Here is the stately, lilting "Adieu, Mignon," from the opera, "Mignon," by Ambroise Thomas. The wonderful lyric tenor, from 1931, is one Andre D'Arkor. 
Setting: Philine's dressing room in a German castle, late 1700s
Synopsis: After Mignon has been following him around for a long time, Wilhelm decides that it is time to tell Mignon that he isn't interested in her. He does this in a kind way, telling her that he must leave her.

But for WWII, D'Arkor would have had a much greater career: 

Puccini's "Girl of the Golden West" was exotic fare in Italy in its time---a real horse opera. In this scene, Dick Johnson (yes, that is the character's name), who is actually the outlaw, Ramerrez, is about to be executed. He explains his final wish passionately : that the woman he loves, Minnie, be told that he was actually set free. This is the powerful "Ch'ella mì creda libero" ("Let her think I am free and far away"), his last words to the world. Here is Jose Cura (who is also a conductor these days.)

Farewell, dreams of glory
farewell, castles in the air.
With dull rancor I look at my writing desk.
I try, but in vain, to drive away the monotony
Gee, do I identify! This is forgotten tenor Gianni Poggi with the wonderful Italian song, "Addio sogni di gloria." 
About Gianni Poggi: 

FINAL BOW: The little tenor, Joseph Schmidt, one of several to earn the title, "The Pocket Caruso." Exiled throughout the '30's as a concert performer because opera halls deemed him too short at 4' 11' (really!), Schmidt, a Jew, was to die of infection and heart failure after being interred in a Swiss refugee camp while fleeing the Nazi invasion of France. Here he is with the great Tosti song, "Addio." 
About Joseph Schmidt: 

Saturdee Opry Links Farewell Edition Encore! Yes! One more addio! Here is the tremendous voice of Franco Corelli with "Addio a la Mamma," from "Cavaleria Rusticana," by Mascagni. 
Synopsis : Turiddu has been challenged to a duel by Alfio. He is drunk and does not believe that he will live through the duel. He tells his mother that he is going out and asks her to take care of his beloved Santuzza if he doesn't come back.

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