Tag: Iano Tamar

Verdi / Macbeth

I was thinking about Verdi’s Macbeth. Verdi really liked Shakespeare. Sometimes this translated into wonderful opera – and sometimes it translated into pretty good but sometimes somewhat weird opera. Macbeth falls into the latter category for me. It was among Verdi’s earlier works, so that is part of what is going on with it. But what I notice most about it whenever I hear it is that sometimes the music appears to part ways with the text.

Here is Iano Tamar singing “Vieni, t’affreta . . .Or tutti sorgete” from Act and “Perché mi sfuggi . . . Trionfai secure alfina” from Act II. Often the next thing after the conversation in “Perche mi sfuggi” is “la luce langue” but here we get a different version. I swear I am not flogging Iano Tamar – this is what came up when I tried to find a video that had this in it.

I usually enjoy “Or tutti sorgete” because this is an aria about summoning the powers of hell, but if you didn’t know that going in you might not guess that this is what it is about. It has a lovely little melodic line that seems to skip along very cheerfully and again, if I were going to summon the powers of darkness, I am not sure that this is precisely how I would do it. But I guess it worked for Lady Macbeth, right?

Don Carlos (again)

Don Carlos is my favorite Verdi opera. It is difficult to put my finger on why – certainly Falstaff and Othello are also up there in terms of operas by Verdi that I enjoy. Also Traviata, sometimes. Then there is Macbeth, certain parts of which always make me either smile or cringe. There is something not quite right about Macbeth, but that is perhaps another subject for another day.

On the face of it, it is hard to explain why I find Don Carlos so compelling. But I think I can work out the reason, most of which is in the music, but part of which is the work of Friedrich Schiller, on whose play the story is based.

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Don Carlos / Domingo & Vargas

I was thinking about that snippet of Don Carlos that was lodged in my brain for some reason the other day and eventually I went back and listened again to the recording it’s from, which is this.

I had not listened to this in a while, and two things jumped out at me. One, Shirley Verrett’s voice (she is Eboli) is even better than I remembered. The part of her voice that always made the greatest impression on me was the lower register, which can make your hair stand on end (in a good way). I forget how nice the top of it was too. I never really understood why she decided to be come a soprano later in her career — she was a hell of a mezzo.

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