Cher Public

  • PCally: This reminds you of De Neise?. Pretty harsh. De Neise has some major problems with both pitch and intonation and a her top gets... 7:22 PM
  • la vociaccia: is this representative of her singing? No. This is: httpv:// FFpzip-SZk DDN could never…. 7:13 PM
  • Cocky Kurwenal: I’ve never heard any Hannigan before. Is this representative of her singing? httpv://www.youtub 6:44 PM
  • Cocky Kurwenal: It isn’t about huge waves of sound – it’s about the voice being relaxed and free, whatever size and... 6:34 PM
  • Poison Ivy: Well Cocky I think it’s a trade off — if didonato had been born with the ability to open her mouth and emit huge... 6:31 PM
  • PCally: I had referenced westbroek because she sang it at the met last season. 6:30 PM
  • lorenzo.venezia: double wow. Barbara H. is a goddess. Lucky you! 6:25 PM
  • Cocky Kurwenal: PCally that’s my mistake about Westrboek in that case – I thought she hadn’t done the role in a long... 6:09 PM

Queen of the Maybe

I am indebted to a young friend who summed up Francesca da Rimini tonight: “I didn’t think anything could be campier than Adriana. But this is nothing but camp. Adriana at least has tunes.” That’s succinct and, indeed, generous to Riccardo Zandonai’s chirpy score, which has tunes but not memorable ones. The opera has returned to the Met after 26 years. One is entitled to wonder why.  

Piero Faggioni’s production has been unearthed for reasons that surely have more to do with Ezio Frigerio’s spectacular Art Nouveau sets and Franca Squarciapino’s gorgeous costumes (providing a pre-Raphaelite view of medieval Italy suitable to a late Verismo score) than with any musical qualifications.

When the production was new, rumored to have been a personal whim of Mrs. Donald Harrington, who paid for it, Francesca starred Renata Scotto, Placido Domingo and Cornell MacNeil, singers who, whatever the state of their vocal health at the time, understood the style and put it across. Even so, it was a tough sell—the house was heavily papered back then, which is how I got in. I’m told the old recording that stars Olivero and Del Monaco is a thing to treasure. I’ll take that on faith, but there are 30 scores I’d rather have heard them perform.

Gabriele d’Annunzio, the only opera librettist who also became a Fascist dictator (Fiume, 1919), created the text of Francesca da Rimini from the hit play he’d written for his lover, Eleonora Duse. Duse was profiled (word!) running a gamut of emotions in this exfoliation of Dante’s brief, beloved anecdote of adulterers caught and killed in flagrante before they could confess and escape damnation. Duse got to pluck a rose, radiantly, to give to her fiancé, whom we know is not her fiancé. Poignant, eh?

She also presented a cup of wine to both her husband and her lover, like a muddled Isolde. (D’Annunzio adored Wagner.) She got to confide and not confide in her sympathetic ladies-in-waiting. She got to fend off one brother-in-law and seduce another. She was stabbed in the back just before the final curtain, having thrown herself between husband and lover. She must have been terrific, and it’s all in the libretto. I kept imagining the wonders Puccini could have done with a text like this. Zandonai doesn’t.

The reason I doubt vocal ability was behind this revival is, well, the inappropriate leading singers. Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek has been performing Gioconda and Forza del Destino here and there, more of a comment on the scarcity of lirico-spinto talent than any tribute to her own abilities. She sings a good note now and then, hearty chest plaints and such, but the line never lingers or floats. She fades without spinning out. She emotes like a demon, having no doubt read up on Duse, but there is more feeling in her costumes than in her singing. The costumes evolve from virginal white in Act I through rose pink to salmon to blood red to purple. Without sustained melody, this is icing without a cake.

Marcello Giordani might have been a passable Paolo ten years ago. Now he tends to bleat and strain and miss pitches entirely, and his acting is not worthy of a Duse—nor does he cut an attractive figure. If this contract was written five years ago, it should have been reconsidered based on the current state of his voice. But what did voice have to do with any of this? If there were Oliveros and Del Monacos around, perhaps there would be some slight point to reviving Francesca. Otherwise—I don’t get it.

There are a lot of good voices surrounding the central figures at the Met and, happily, Zandonai built up their parts to rather more than make-weight. Mark Delavan sang Francesca’s murderous and unattractive husband, Gianciotto, with power and chilling threat; there was excitement in his duet with Westbroek in Act IV because you sensed he was a wild card, capable of anything. (Those Wotans in San Francisco evidently taught him how to seethe.) Robert Brubaker implied a certain adolescent hysterical intensity as the maddened kid brother, Malatestino.

The ladies had the best music of the score and did exquisite things with it. Dina Kuznetsova, as Francesca’s apprehensive sister, joined Westbroek in a charming duet. Ginger Costa-Jackson, who always gives pleasure, sang a contralto slave girl, Smaragdi, with lustrous, smoky colors.

The quartet of attendants were Disella Larusdottir, Caitlin Lynch, Patricia Risley and Renee Tatum. Their girlish glee in Act I sets up Francesca’s happy delusions, and their “Spring” quartet in Act III is one of the few numbers from the opera that is ever excerpted, but I found the lullaby with which they opened the final scene especially appealing. Appealing is nice, but at such an ominous moment—well, think of what Verdi could have done.

Marco Armiliato led the Met orchestra in a clean, clear performance with properly shocking jolts from double basses and a tiny, costumed onstage band, including a lute. David Kneuss, who restaged the production, has the Malatesta army in Act II stand at attention staring up at Francesca and Paolo as they confess their immoral love to each other, which can’t be the ideal way to keep it secret from Gianciotto. At least turn the soldiers around, hey?

The performance takes three and a half hours because the wonderful sets—and they are wonderful, and I wish someone would write an opera for them—take ages to change, requiring three intermissions, take ‘em or leave ‘em.

Photo: Marty Sohl


  • blanchette says:

    madmedium--welcome--Isn’t this site amazing?

  • Camille says:

    It was my seventh, counting Syberberg’s movie, production of Parsifal.

    Monsieur Camille and I have been discussing it all day long and he may have something to say at some point. Our favorite is still the production we saw at the Vlaamse Opera in 1995, which brought out the Buddhist subtext in a subtle fashion.

    That is all I will say as I am not one to shit on others’ joy.

    Love--Mario Batali is being featured this week at

    Big Bisou 2 U & Petaluma

    • Camille says:

      To Batty Masetro, of course!

      I didn’t address it properly and assumed it would turn up after his enquiry.

    • operaspike says:

      Wait! What? How did little Petaluma end up being mentioned in this esteemed dialogue? Being as how I’m a P-town (west coast version) native, it just caught my eye. So other “opera queens” do live in my little town by the slough…how refreshing.

      • Camille says:

        Batty M. is a proud Petaluman.

        I have only driven through en route to the Brooks Brothers outlet. Lovely little town with a nice restored main drag.

      • Batty Masetto says:

        Spike, are you seriously a Petaluman? Still, I mean?

        Greetings from us over here on the West Side….

        • operaspike says:

          Yes indeed, Batty. Born and raised on the West Side (is there any other part of town, really?) and back living in my old neighborhood after 35 years living in that desert 19 miles to the north (City of Saint Rose).

          • Batty Masetto says:

            Spike, we need to work out a way to get in touch. My hubby and I have occasionally hosted little events at our place for the local Parterrians and would be glad to include you next time.

      • m. croche says:

        And On The Seventh Day Batty Fell In Petaluma.

    • Batty Masetto says:

      Oh dear, Camille. I figured silence meant disappointment.

      Not that this would have necessarily thrown you, but one of the biggest assets of the production was the seamless ensemble among conductor, director and principals. Each was clearly freed by the knowledge they could rely on the other, and none of them was fungible. Replacing two sides of the polygon at once can’t have helped things.

      • FragendeFrau82 says:

        Batty has said it perfectly. I am so sorry that you were disappointed after such delight on our parts. However, I am happy that you follow my dear mother’s rule: if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. I often think of this before posting here. And it is why I could not be a critic!

      • Camille says:

        I didn’t say I was disappointed.

        I have seen six other productions is what I said.

        I am not only an old lady, I am a hard sell.

        If someone else got something out of this production it is fine by me.

        C’est tout.


        • Hans Lick says:

          Camille -

          Of course I don’t know your real name or your husband’s, but now it appears I’ve lost his email address as well. I would like to speak with YOU actually (I’m listed in Manhattan!) about a project on which I solicit your advice. Please give me a holler.


          • Camille says:

            His “real” name is: Monsieur Camille.

            I shall ask him if he recalls having met a Herr Doktor Hans Lick at any conference and see if he can come up with a means of communication.

            Yours very truly,

            Madame Camille

            p.s. — I am leaving NYC on next Tuesday for a spell—-

        • La Valkyrietta says:

          Dahling Camille,

          I am disappointed too, I was expecting a long post from you about your impressions of this Parsifal. Oh well. I avoided it myself and made no effort at all to go see it in the house as dancing in a pool of blood is not my cup of tea, or of borscht :) , but I enjoyed it immensely twice on the air.

          • Camille says:

            It was like a flood of menstrual blood. Brought back bad memories.

            You played it smart staying home, La Vally love.

            Best regards,


          • La Valkyrietta says:

            You have said enough, ma chère Camille, a review need not be long. To menstrual blood I prefer the Siena cathedral, the palazzo Rufolo at Ravello, or the Wesendonck garden in Switzerland in the spring. Rather than leukocytes and hemoglobin in a post-apocaliptic science fiction world, to me Wagner’s last opera is the romantic Middle Ages and Baudelaire. I’m glad that at least you do not make me feel sola, perduta, abbandonata.

            La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
            Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
            L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
            Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.
            Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
            Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
            Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,
            Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.
            II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d’enfants,
            Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,
            — Et d’autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,
            Ayant l’expansion des choses infinies,
            Comme l’ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l’encens,
            Qui chantent les transports de l’esprit et des sens.

            — Charles Baudelaire

          • Camille says:

            Merci très bien et mille fois!!

            It’s funny, as husband always remarks how die Blumenmädchen seem to spring straight from pages of Les Fleurs du Mal.

            You will never be left sola, perduta ed abbandonata by

        • manou says:

          „Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.“

          • La Valkyrietta says:

            Ja, ja, manou.

            At least Camille liked the Francesca sets -I remember them from many moons ago when I saw Scotto from a nice center orchestra seat, sehr gut- so it was not a totally bad week.

            Ages ago at the Boston opera I saw Tebaldi in Otello, and I could not speak of her performance for weeks. Let us say she was just not exactly as in one of her recordings that I knew by heart. She did not sing, but recited, “quella parola horrenda”. Of course, what really had happened was that I was transported to another world, the world of pure opera. I have not seen a better Desdemona since.

            Perhaps Camille experienced at one point on Tuesday the ineffable? But I will not insist. I respect Camille silences as much as I enjoy the commentaries.

      • bluecabochon says:

        Batty is spot-on. I missed very much Dalayman’s contribution, and her absence threw off the balance of this production. I’m sorry that you weren’t as thrilled as some of us were, and I am interested I hearing your thoughts. :)

    • Bluevicks says:

      Dear Camille,
      I understand that the staging wan’t your cup of tea, but I’m still very curious about your thoughts on the singing in this production (I’m no that familiar with Parsifal myself, so a perspective from someone who has seen his seventh Parsifial would be very interesting).

      • Camille says:

        I read your original remarks way back on up the thread and found them to be unusually perceptive, and especially about the singing. I do not care to go into any further except I felt ill from the performance, and have no intention of dwelling on it further nor discussing it.

        Perhaps I shall attend the repeat HD. Could not tolerate Gatti’s bizarre doings and thank god Mo. Fisch made more sense of it. Neither could replicate what Levine managed to do, in any case, to create a cathedral vault of golden sound.

  • DonCarloFanatic says:

    Somebody do me a favor and enumerate the Buddhist elements in this Parsifal, because I do not know from that religion and probably would not recognize any of its symbols if I tripped over a dozen Buddhist monks first.

    • Batty Masetto says:

      Wow, DCF, you don’t ask for much, do you? Try this for a start:

      • DonCarloFanatic says:


        • Batty Masetto says:

          And y’know what? I just discovered that even Monsalvat, who has about 60,000 times more detailed knowledge about the work than I do, still has a mistranslation!

          Kundry says:
          Schuf dich zum Gott die Stunde,
          für sie lass mich ewig dann verdammt,
          nie heile mir die Wunde!

          And the translation has:
          Let me make you a god, for just an hour,
          rather than leave me to eternal damnation,
          my wound never to be healed!

          … which the grammar just won’t support no matter which way you turn it. Roughly what it says is this:
          If this hour has made you a god,
          for this hour then leave me to eternal damnation,
          and never let my wound be healed!

          In other words, she’s saying, “Come on, come on, let’s just have our wonderful hour together and damn the consequences.”

          • DonCarloFanatic says:

            That’s a huge difference in meaning.

          • FragendeFrau82 says:

            Batty, I thought of another odd Met subtitle, at least I think it is, in Act 3 when Parsifal is going to baptize Kundry he sings “Mein erstes Amt…” The Met translated this as “My first ministry”!

            “Amt” is of course used throughout (and possibly in some Wagner-specific way, but I had no problem knowing what was meant) but “ministry” seems way too American evangelical for this.

            How about My first duty, my first charge, my first task…

  • Will says:

    DonCarloFanatic, begin with Kundry’s many reincarnations over the centuries.

    • oedipe says:

      Yes, and her yearning for those reincarnations to stop, i.e. for Nirvana, eternal peace.

  • DonCarloFanatic says:

    I was looking for more pedestrian symbols that might have been used in this production. Like, what about the gestures during the grail ceremony? Does a chalice have symbolic meaning in Buddhism? Is raising it high important? Is it empty or full?

    • Bianca Castafiore says:

      DCF, I believe Girard deliberately made this Parsifal “irreligious”.

    • Batty Masetto says:

      As far as I’m aware, Buddhism has nothing that remotely corresponds to the grail or its ceremony. To me the biggest Buddhist symbol in this production was the identification of the wound with uncontrolled desire -- in other words, the whole concept behind Act II.

      • Batty Masetto says:

        You know who we need RIGHT NOW? CROCHE!!!!

        • m. croche says:

          Ooops -- just saw this. I haven’t seen the production yet -- waiting for the encore HD -- so I don’t have anything useful to add.

      • Andie Musique says:

        Here’s one thought about the gestures:
        Heriatic gestures are popular in modern theater. They are described as the fundamental vocabulary of body knowing, the body’s primary agent in making meaning out of experience. They are universal and refer both to ‘the whole’ and the ‘holy.’

        McVicar used them in his Chicago Elektra too.

        • FragendeFrau82 says:

          The gestures/choreography/movement were one of my favorite aspects of this production. For one thing they were a complete surprise when I saw it the first time. Also, I thought they worked perfectly to indicate, right from the Prelude on, the stately, grave, almost meditative pace of the work as a whole.

          And as Andie said above, they were universal. For instance, I watched it 3x and did not “read” Parsifal’s movement of the spear at the end of Act2 as a sign of the cross--and I looked. To me it appeared more of a u-shaped swoop--a continuation of his rejection of all Klingsor’s temptation.

          • Hans Lick says:

            Returned for the final Parsifal, incredible again.

            But YES the sign der Jonas makes at the end of Act II is THE SIGN OF A CROSS. Top to bottom, then side to side. Just as Wagner asked for.

            As I described the production to a friend in outermost British Columbia, a lot came together: The WOUND (in this production) is the wound in society, the wound in the world, symbolized as well as incarnated in the inability of men and women to touch each other, enter each other’s realms, BY PITY KNOWING TO FEEL THE OTHER’S PAIN. Symbolizing all humanity’s inability to feel the pain of other folk, but expressing it theatrically.

            This WOUND is the one that has bled into the pool in Act II. (No, it’s not blood from the flowermaidens’ boyfriends — they haven’t been wounded yet.) And THIS is the wound that Parsifal heals with the spear, and with his refusal of Kundry’s suggestion that they reach a sort of mind-ful escape briefly by sexual union without mutual understanding.

            Then, in Act III, not only does Parsifal (new-anointed) lead Kundry (new-baptized) across the dividing stream, symbolizing the end of the division that lack of sympathy has created between the sexes, not only does he cure Amfortas with his understanding, but then Parsifal and Kundry SHARING the priestly function (as in Wicca but not in Catholicism) unite spear with cup in a stunning and sacramental image. Conjoined they symbolize not only fertility but the cure of the rift between the sexes and the rift between human heart and human heart. A supreme realization on stage of the message the music has been trying to convey all evening. And Kundry, having at last achieved the negation of the Will, can abandon her weary life at long last.

  • turings says:

    From the family circle, the men’s synchronised movements in act 1 looked like something from a 1940′s musical – in a good way. As well as suggesting ritual and the closed structure of the group, they were strikingly delicate and suggestive of a flower opening and closing, which I thought was moving in the context of a work that is so interested in male vulnerability.

  • Camille says:

    Here is the Peter G. Davis review for the prima of the 1984 Francesca da Rimini. I agree with the eminent and, by me, much missed Mr. Davis.

    • armerjacquino says:

      Camille, that link just points to the Met Archive homepage, alas.

      • armerjacquino says:

        (Although I guess a little initiative would find the review)

      • Camille says:

        On shoot!!! I wanted people to have a chance to read his excellent review. I will het on my Miss Marple shoes and investigate!

    • Camille says:

      Let’s try again. Sorry, Cieca, had to post the entire review but the cast list is deleted.

      Metropolitan Opera House
      March 9, 1984
      Benefit sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild

      Review by Peter G. Davis in New York Magazine:


      It must have taken some nerve on James Levine’s part to engineer a new production of Riccardo Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini at the Metropolitan Opera. Even before the first performance, superior beings began to sniff. Why resurrect this moldy fig by a second-rate composer from the post-Puccini generation? Isn’t it bad enough that the Met occasionally wastes its time on Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur? That work, for most critics, more than adequately sums up early-twentieth-century Italian verismo and a trashy operatic era best forgotten.
      Well, let them fume. In a broad sense, the reappearance of Francesca at the Met after 66 years can be justified as part of Levine’s commendable ambition to explore significant areas of the- repertory that the company has either neglected or completely ignored. Personally, I welcome any opportunity for further acquaintance, having developed a soft spot for Francesca long ago, when the score and later a recording fell into my teenage hands. The first production I saw a gorgeous one in 1959 at La Scala, with Magda Olivero and Mario Del Monaco remains a vivid, treasured memory. For me, the astonishing part about the Met’s Francesca da Rimini is not so much the fact that it was done at all, but that it was treated so sensitively and with such a keen appreciation for the special requirements of verismo and a practically vanished performing tradition.
      Admittedly, Francesca exudes an aura of decadence, but no more so than the stage works of Richard Strauss. Some will always find the sweet perfumes of these operas noxious, a slightly morbid aroma compounded in Zandonai’s case by Gabriele D’Annunzio’s extravagant libretto. Drenched in flowery verbal imagery, this retelling of the tragic Paolo-and-Francesca affair mentioned in Dante’s Inferno is so full of gaudy grandiloquence and D’Annunzio’s bizarre cult-of-the-beautiful aesthetic that even Italians find much of the text incomprehensible.
      Zandonai was one of the few composers to base an opera on a D’Annunzio drama—possibly the only one who were not defeated by the poet’s high-flown language. Much help in this respect came from Zandonai’s publisher, Tito Ricordi, who skillfully reduced the original play to its barest essentials without sacrificing the characters’ driving obsessions or the lush Renaissance atmosphere. The Act I curtain falls on a scene of sheer operatic magic: Surrounded by their retinues, Paolo and Francesca meet for the first time and their love is kindled without either uttering a word; an offstage female chorus floats its sensuous melody over a ravishing orchestral texture of shimmering strings punctuated by the archaic sounds of a solo lute, piaffer, and throbbing viola pomposa, as Francesca offers Paolo a rose. Zandonai was master of such delicate mood painting, but he
      could also graphically depict the drama’s desperate, brutal passions while never disregarding the voice or its capacity for sustained lyrical expression.
      The Met must have spent a fortune on Francesca da Rimini, but there is no way to skimp on this opera and do it right. If one element is slighted sets, costumes, casting, conducting, or direction—the entire fragile illusion collapses. With their intricate decorative details, the massive sets by Ezio Frigerio serve the work exquisitely, conjuring up striking tableaux of thirteenth-century Rimini. The flowery courtyard, an awesome citadel armed for battle, and richly furnished castle apartments irresistibly draw the audience into the opera’s romantic milieu. Piero Faggioni’s graceful direction strikes a perfect balance between veristic and poetically stylized movement; the long scene in Act III, as the two lovers’ repressed sexual attraction becomes increasingly physical, evolves choreographically, in a riveting sequence of potent visual images.
      As Francesca, Renata Scotto has found her ideal role, one that responds naturally to the fascinating chiaroscuro of her unusual timbre and vibrates with the dramatic intensity her special stage personality can generate when all is well a great performance in a tradition that is now hers by right of training and temperament. Paolo is not an especially grateful part, but Placido Domingo sang it glamorously, while Cornell MacNeil as the betrayed Gianciotto roared, appropriately enough, like a wounded animal. Levine conducted far more discreetly than he often does when leading an opera for the first time, and his affectionate concern for the music told in every measure. I could complain about some of the casting in the many important smaller roles, but I won’t. The main point is that the Met championed an underdog opera, threw its considerable resources behind it, and scored a creditable artistic achievement.

      • Camille says:

        Again, sorry about posting this lengthy review but did not have time enough to get it any other way.

        Since there is so much pro and con about Francesca, maybe another voice and one which was critiquing this very same produciton will help to mitigate some of the bitter rankling. I don’t know about that.

      • oedipe says:

        Even before the first performance, superior beings began to sniff. Why resurrect this moldy fig by a second-rate composer from the post-Puccini generation?

        Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Here is all the Francesca da Rimini you’ll ever need… by Rossini:

  • brooklynpunk says:

    Whatever reason was given for the last revival of “Francesca” in the ’80′s just has absolutely NO VALIDITY in 2013, (it seemed to my eyes and ears, on Monday evening…)

    I have not squirmed in my seat so much — thru to the bitter end-- in memory… it was PURE TORTURE ( much more so than Francesca’s torments in Dante’s 9th Circle…

    PLUS…WTF did those HIDEOUS, yet fairly uncomlicated looking sets warrent THREE intermissions , for set changes?

    I also don’t get why there were Pre-Rahalite illusions in the sets and costuming… didn’t that art movement come and go prior to the writing og this Opera—or the play upon which it is based?

    I did see this in the ’80′s…and cringed then— and doubly cringed , last Monday

    • brooklynpunk says:

      that should have read—pre -raphaelite,,,”

      • Camille says:

        I was just wondering about U & ur neck yesterday & now U pop Up!

        Going to the Met Museum this wkend. Always think of U there!

        Don’t neglect to buy TempurPedic pillows for neck! There are many types and they all help a little or a lot.

        Best wishes

    • ducadiposa says:

      Haven’t seen this production and will have to wait til the HD encore BUT…yes, certainly, the original Pre-Raphaelite movement of the 1850s was over before Zandonai came on the scene…but, the movement lingered for a long time in England especially and had its proponents on the Continent as well. A sort of late flowering, decadent version probably best scene in the paintings of Edward Burne-Jones which I think this production was inspired by (to my eye). This takes us much closer to Zandonai’s time. And…the Pre-Raphaelites were certainly inspired by stories like Francesca -- including one famous painting by Rossetti . So, the Pre-Raphaelite inspiration in this production does make sense I think.

  • Batty Masetto says:

    What’s so odd to me is that unlike Wagner, who was merely admired by a fascist dictator, D’Annunzio was himself a fascist dictator (look up Fiume). Yet Wagner gets the grief (some deserved, but not all) while in this whole discussion there’s been not one mention of what a repulsive reptile D’Annunzio was -- I’d say considerably worse than Der Meister.

    • Batty Masetto says:

      Sorry, John Y. of course did mention the dictatorship -- but to me there’s something distinctly fragrant in the wrong way about the libretto, yet it hasn’t come up here.

      I’m waiting to see the production before making any conclusions.

  • Hans Lick says:

    Batty -

    Having read — well, tried to read, glanced at the last scene for the inevitable lovedeath — one of d’Annunzio’s novels, I also attended (at the hurricane’s height!) another of his opera libretti, Montemezzi’s La Nave, to my mind a FAR more attractive score than Francesca. That one ends with an emblem of all-conquering Venice, when the treacherous but now heartbroken heroine is not merely skewered but (at her own request of course) attached to the prow of a war galley heading out into the Adriatic.

    You should try that one. Definitely leaves Francesca in infernal shade.

  • Camille says:

    God, I will never get over having missed the boat on La Nave!!!!!SOB!

    The libretto to my beloved Franny da Bimini is at LEAST edited and worked over by Tito Ricordi, so maybe that is a part of it. There is an Italian film which came out in 1987, entitled “D’ANNUNZIO”, and which I saw in teatro there. It is mostly about sex, or SEX, all kinds. Very little politico that I can now recall, now that I recall much now. Doubt that NetFlix would have it but who knows?

    Saw Francesca again last night, from the third row orchestra and despite the orchestra sounding ‘good enough’ now, and the principals being what they were -- adequate + --, I LURVED it, because I have Magda and Mario Del that I pipe in from Ye Olde Memory Bank. Incidentally, Robert Brubaker, from La Nave was quite good and very promising as Malatestino. The scene with him and Big Bro had quite a lot of testosterone thrown around, if that interests any of you at all.

    I want that fourth act robe of Francesca’s!!!!!!!!!!