Cher Public

Wallflower at the orgy

I’ve reached one of my goals for 2017: with this week’s upload of Edgar, you can now find at least one complete performance of every opera by Giacomo Puccini on my Mixcloud site.  Bryan Hymel and Angela Meade star in the composer’s second opera in a concert performance from Frankfurt in 2014. 

Edgar remains perhaps Puccini’s least-performed opera.  It is the only one which I’ve never seen staged, nor have I even heard of a staging in my part of the world.  (At least Wiener Staatsoper gave us Le villi.)

In a second upload, I supplement the opera catalogue with the Messa a quatri voci con orchestra, more commonly known as the Messa di Gloria, plus two early, brief orchestral works, and some lovely canzoni.

If you recognize some of this music, it just proves that Puccini was not above recycling: just listen to the first chords of Crisantemi or the first canzone.

Now that Wagner and Puccini are complete, look for the rest of Janá?ek and Britten in the coming months, as well as more Verdi and some rare Richard Strauss.

  • Mike Danko

    Edgar has some great music but a decidedly subpar storyline. Here is a performance on Blu-ray with Jose Cura based on Puccini’s original autograph score with a four-act structure. The score was in the possession of his granddaughter and came to light during research into a reconstruction of the original score. https://www.amazon.com/Puccini-Edgar-Blu-ray/dp/B002JP9HIU

  • Camille

    In Michael Kaye’s exhaustive book on this subject and entitled

    The Unknown PUCCINI — Oxford University Press 1987,
    [A Historical perspective on the songs including little-known music from Edgar and La Rondine, with complete music for voice and piano] —

    there is a section -- PART II Music Originally Included in Stage Works which includes the usually excised brindisi of the character of Tigrana from Act III, scene 2, i.e., the virtuoistic “La copper è simbol della vita” accompanied by a short essay [pp.145-149] on both its creation and evolution then its ultimate obscure fate.

    As to Puccini’s own opinion on his opera and concurring with die Jungfer Marianne has to say about him not above recycling himself the composer himself has this to say:

    “Although I knew that I wrote some pages that do me credit, that is not enough—as an opera it does not exist. The basis of an opera is the subject and its treatment. In setting the libretto of “EDGAR”, I have, with all respect to the memory of my friend Fontana, made a blunder. It was more my fault than his.”

    Further, Mr. Kaye goes on:

    “Even though Puccini disowned “EDGAR”, in his later years, it is obvious from his correspondence and the extensive revisions he made in the score that he hoped this opera would eventually capture the hearts of his international audience. He even considered reusing some part of “EDGAR” in his last opera, “TURANDOT”. In an autograph sketch of the famous aria “In questa reggia,” Puccini wrote “assolutamenta fatta” (“absolutely done”), then crossed out those words and replaced them with the indication (which he also eventually crossed out) “Forsè Aria Edgar” (“Perhaps Aria Edgar”).

    In conclusion, Mr. Kaye has this to say:

    “A revival of the original four-act version of “EDGAR” might prove interesting. In retrospect, the libretto is no more ludicrous, nor any worse, than many others that are occasionally revived as curios or as vehicles for prominent singers--in fact, it contains several effective scenes. In my opinion, “EDGAR” warrants a contemporary appraisal in the opera house.”

    Well, thank you, Mr. Kaye! One does speculate, with what may be possible with some imaginative Regie involved, what may be made of this opera, in our own time.

    If one would like to listen to the Puccini Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Effort, there is a CD featuring Violeta Urmana and Plácido Domingo and our once-to-be new maestro for OONY, Alberto Veronesi from around ten years ago “PUCCINI REDISCOVERD” on which one may hear not only the above-reference brindisi plus two other excerpts, a prelude from to Act I and a duet “Sia benedetto il giorno”. It IS a bit confusing listening to Miss Urmana as she goes between mezzo and soprano in the role taking, but, that’s small matter.
    I don’t know if it is on Youtube but just go google it and you’ll soon know.

    ///////////////////////////////

    Mr. Kaye! I am still awaiting the publishing of your “HOFFMAN” and only hope I don’t die first! Is there any rumor now of its imminent publication? Thank you for all your great pains and research in the Puccini — I have had your volume for twenty+ years now and never tire of it, nor of your prose.

  • Camille

    In Michael Kaye’s exhaustive book on this subject and entitled

    The Unknown PUCCINI — Oxford University Press 1987,

    [A Historical perspective on the songs including little-known music from Edgar and La Rondine, with complete music for voice and piano] —

    there is a section -- PART II Music Originally Included in Stage Works which includes the usually excised brindisi of the character of Tigrana from Act III, scene 2, i.e., the virtuoistic “La copper è simbol della vita” accompanied by a short essay [pp.145-149] on both its creation and evolution then its ultimate obscure fate.

    As to Puccini’s own opinion on his opera and concurring with die Jungfer Marianne has to say about him not above recycling himself the composer himself has this to say:

    “Although I knew that I wrote some pages that do me credit, that is not enough—as an opera it does not exist. The basis of an opera is the subject and its treatment. In setting the libretto of “EDGAR”, I have, with all respect to the memory of my friend Fontana, made a blunder. It was more my fault than his.”

    Further, Mr. Kaye goes on:

    “Even though Puccini disowned “EDGAR”, in his later years, it is obvious from his correspondence and the extensive revisions he made in the score that he hoped this opera would eventually capture the hearts of his international audience. He even considered reusing some part of “EDGAR” in his last opera, “TURANDOT”. In an autograph sketch of the famous aria “In questa reggia,” Puccini wrote “assolutamenta fatta” (“absolutely done”), then crossed out those words and replaced them with the indication (which he also eventually crossed out) “Forsè Aria Edgar” (“Perhaps Aria Edgar”).

    In conclusion, Mr. Kaye has this to say:

    “A revival of the original four-act version of “EDGAR” might prove interesting. In retrospect, the libretto is no more ludicrous, nor any worse, than many others that are occasionally revived as curios or as vehicles for prominent singers--in fact, it contains several effective scenes. In my opinion, “EDGAR” warrants a contemporary appraisal in the opera house.”

    Well, thank you, Mr. Kaye! One does speculate, with what may be possible with some imaginative Regie involved, and what may be made of this opera, in our own time.

    If one would like to listen to the Puccini Reduce, Reuse & Recycle Effort, there is a CD on DGG, featuring Violeta Urmana and Plácido Domingo and our once-to-be new maestro for OONY, Alberto Veronesi from 2009, “PUCCINI REDISCOVERD” on which one may hear not only the above-referenced brindisi, plus two other excerpts, a prelude from to Act I and a duet “Sia benedetto il giorno”. It IS a bit confusing listening to Miss Urmana as she goes between mezzo and soprano in the role taking, but, that’s small matter.

    I don’t know if it is on Youtube but just go google it and you’ll soon know.

    n.b. — I’ll try posting this again.

  • Marianne: Congratulations on the completion of your Puccini cycle. And thank you for giving us all a rare chance to hear Edgar. The tenor aria from Kaufmann’s Puccini album left a positive impression on me.

    • Armerjacquino

      Scotto did something very special with the soprano aria.