Giuseppe Verdi


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such as your host.

Thrown together in haste every
Saturdee morning by
Rip Rense

Giacomo Puccini

SATURDEE OPRY LINKS 60: Hvorostovsky Memorial

From tough kid to gang member to alcoholic to. . .great father, revered baritone.

Saturdee Opry Links Overture!
"The Force of Destiny," by Verdi.

Saturdee Opry Links is/are dedicated to the late Dmitri Hvorostovksy. The family asks that donations be made in his memory to cancer research: 
Here is the great baritone with Renee Fleming. 
Don Giovanni (a profligate nobleman) and Zerlina (a peasant girl, Masetto's fiancee.)
Synopsis : Don Giovanni attempts to seduce the peasant girl Zerlina. Zerlina almost capitulates but is prevented from going off with him by Donna Elvira, who has already fallen to the wiles of Giovanni.

Hvorostovsky in a light moment. . .Here is "L'Heure Exquise," also known as "Lippen Schweigen," from Lehar's operetta, "The Merry Widow." Hvorostovksy and Elina Garanca. 
Lips fall silent, whispering are violins
Love me!
All the steps say please, love me!
Every press of the hands
Clearly described it to me
He said clearly, it's true, it's true
You love me!


At each step of the waltz
The soul will dance along
Then hops my little heart
It knocks and pounds: Be mine! Be mine!
And my mouth, it speaks not a word,
Still it sounds on and continuously on:
"I do love you so, I love you!"

Every press of the hands
Clearly described it to me
he says clearly, it's true, it's true,
You love me!

Fred Plotkin in a great, funny interview with Hvorostovksy: 

From Gounod's "Faust," a noble aria of duty and compassion.
"Avant de quitter ces lieux". . ."Before leaving this place." The late Dmitri Hvorostovksy.
Synopsis: Valentin has been called off to war. He is not worried about what will happen to him because of the sacred medallion that he has been given. He is, however, worried because there will no one protect his sister while he is gone. He asks God to take care of her while he fights. He declares that he shall fight valiantly for his country and if he dies, he prays that he will be allowed to watch over his sister from Heaven.

From Hvorostovky's NYT obit:
An only child, Mr. Hvorostovsky lived mostly with his maternal grandmother, whom he adored, and his volatile step-grandfather, a broken-down war hero, whom Mr. Hvorostovsky described in 2003 in a profile in The New Yorker as “vain, arrogant and deeply alcoholic.”He remained devoted to his father, an engineer, and his mother, a gynecologist. But they both had time-consuming work schedules, and he saw them only on weekends. That he showed musical talent, at first on the piano, delighted his father, who had wanted to be a musician but had been forced into engineering school by his own father, a Communist die-hard. He arranged for his son to attend music school in the afternoons and evenings. . .
Here is the young baritone with "Largo Al Factotum" from "The Barber of Seville" by Rossini. Figaro essentially does a Trump impression, bragging of his greatness, but, unlike Trump, does it with poetry and charm.

From Hvorostovksy's NYT obit:
Dmitri, at 14, fell in with street gangs, started drinking vodka, got into brawls and broke his nose several times. Still, he finished high school, and at 16 he was given a new direction when his father enrolled him in a vocational school for choral conductors.That led to his entering the conservatory in Krasnoyarsk, where he studied with Ekaterina Yoffel, whom Mr. Hvorostovsky remembered as “powerful, possessive, tough, cynical and very honest.” She taught him breath control, and his excellence at sustaining long phrases on a single breath would later be envied by colleagues. He was given a government apartment while still a student. Soviet music schools at the time paid scant attention to the Italian tradition of bel canto singing, which cultivated evenness through the range, smooth phrasing and the ability to embellish vocal lines with ornamentation. Mr. Hvorostovsky learned this heritage on his own by listening to classic recordings.
Here is the result of listening to those records, at least in part. Hvorostovsky with one of the greatest of Verdi melodies, whether for baritone or any other voice. "Di Provenza il mar il suo," from "La Traviata."
Synopsis : Alfredo's father has convinced Violetta that it is better for everyone if she leaves Alfredo. She begs him to love her and then sneaks out of the house. Later, a servant brings him her farewell letter and he rushes off to find her. Giorgio stops him though and sings this aria to remind him of their home in Provence and to ask him to return with him. 

And another light moment. "Simple Song," a Russian fave. 

Ann Midgette in the Washington Post wrote of Hvorostovsky:
He wasn’t a showman, though. I used to wish he would stop “covering” his sound quite so much — singing with rounded, deep beauty, but not adding the extra “ping” for the sake of selling the sound to the audience. He was too elegant a singer, though, to sacrifice beauty for effect.
An aria well suited to that elegance is, of course, "Il Balen del suo Sorriso," from Verdi's "Il Trovatore." 
Setting: The convent near Castellor, 1409.
Synopsis: Leonora has decided to enter a convent after hearing that her love Manrico has died in battle. The Count of Luna also loves her, though, and decides that if he steals her away from the convent, then she will love him. In this aria, he confesses his love of Leonora to the world.

Hvorostovksy with a moody love song by Rachmaninov, "In the Silence of the Night."

Ann Midgette in the Washington Post:
"In a field rife with gossip, Hvorostovsky — after he stopped drinking in 2001 — was known as a good colleague and a good family man, radiantly happy with his second wife, Florence, and their two children, Nina and Maxim. (He also had twins from his first marriage, Daniel and Alexandra.)"
A song by Tchaikovsky, "Why?" from a poem by Heinrich Heine.
"Why are the roses so pale?" 

From the NYT obit:
In recent years, Mr. Hvorostovsky felt an increasing attachment to his homeland. In his interview with The New Yorker, he recalled a concert he gave at 22 with fellow singers and instrumentalists in a bread factory in central Siberia in below-freezing weather. The audience, wearing fur hats and warm boots, was overcome.Those tears, Mr. Hvorostovsky said, “were more precious to me than all the applause I could ever get again.”
Here is the Russian folk song, "Farewell Happiness." 
Farewell, happiness, my life,
I know you go around without me
It means we must part;
I won't see you any more
Dark little night!
Ah, there's no sleeping!
I myself don't know why
You, dear little girl, ...
ou alone disturb me,
You alone decided my peace. (refrain; Dark etc)
Remember, remember that May day,
My dear one and I went to swim.
We sat on the sand,
On the yellow, the soft sand.

Saturdee Opry Links Hvorostovsky Tribute Encore.
"Moscow Nights," with Anna Netrebko.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to Cancer Research UK:

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