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February 27, 1955 - Image 16

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1955-02-27

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-AGE 10


ISNDAY. TE RY 27. 1995

PAGE. rio TNF . v .r~l te a s". DArv:ar., r tUt'4DAY " .PF r i~*ftY 7 l.


the inimitable songs of
His Lyrics, His Music, His So-Called Voice and Piano
(Volume IIis. expected very soon)
The Iusic CPnte 7
300 So# *TI hayer Just West of Hill Auditorium Phone 2-2500 and 8-7200

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Verdi Opea Pr snts
Great ManyProblems
(Continued from Page 8)
He uses trumpet parts more ef-
the chorus, alternating as Baby- fectively in Falstaff, as in the fan-
lonfans and Israelites. fare endings of the first scene of
Each of these characters has a this opera, but they are construct-
project, of course (e.g., love, pow- 4the same way they were in
er, hate, freedom), and naturally 1840.
everbody's project gets bungled. IrEscn~ontn lm nn
eT 'f~t'sr'**"n'~l'~f;rTHlE secondconstnt ement
The librettist Is resrponsible for1 Verdi's development is his
all of this, further adding to their ability to reflect, through the
misery( and, of course, to the en- music, the fundamental psychol-
joyment of the audience-similar ogy of a personality. Musical char-
to a bullfight), with mob scenes, acterization is a rare quality,
battles, magical lightning bolts found elsewhere onlyin the operas
from above;love scenes, the burn- of Mozart.
ing of the temple. Characters emerge not so much
With typical operatic short- through their words and actions,
sightedness, these characters fail as through the way the music
to recognize him as their deus de- heightens their moods and feel-
ceptor, blaming it instead on the ings as suggested by the drama.
great god Baal. With Nabucco we have the first
The imposing and edifying cul- instance of such characterization;
miation to such an opera is amid the stupidity of this story,
nothing less than the rejection of Nabucco stands out as a truly
Baal and the conversion of every- tragic figure, tormented by the in-
one-Nabucco, Babylonians, and difference of his subjects and lis
all--to the religion of Jehovah. own daughters.
Verdi's operas present a proces-
'filE AUSTERE nonsense of Na- sion of similar tragic musical
bucco is a far cry from the characters: Rigoletto, Azucena in
raucous nonsense of Falstaff-ad- i Trovatore, Vioetta; King Philip
ventures with his drinking cor- in Don Carlos, Aid, and Othello.
panions at the Garter Inn, love Only the background shifts over
scenes with two local matrons, this period, from the cQnventions
both happily married and them- of 1840 to the freer style of 1890.
selves the best of friends, or the Falstaff continues this procession,
midnight rendezvous in Windsor unique in that he is a comic in-
stead of a tragic figure.
'lie significance of this later The mere idea of an 80-year-old
wor lies not only in its more ap- composer writing his first comic
pealing dramatic construction, but opera in over 50 years is aston-
aso in its music. ishing.
As Verdi disposed of the stereo- The brightness and youthful-
types of the drama, so also has ness we would expect from a
ha disposed of the conventions of
opeCratic music, younger composer is never missing
in Falstaff. Furthermore, it is al-
In Falstaff we hear none of the ways tempered by a balance and
aria and recitatives, the brilliant maturity which keeps the humor
high notes and the dull choruses broad and restrained.
which distinguished his earlier Slapstick is completely out of
style. His liberation from conven- taste in this opera; any produc-
tions is always accomplished slow- tion which allows it necessarily
ly and conservatively; when he loses its, whole impact and affect.
disposes of tradition,h'e keeps in
mini the fundamental principles This opera needs only two things
of art which underlie it. to be successful.
ID his early works, we expect First, it must be performed
the fullthroated high note to con- with the directness and sincerity
elude a solo section. which distinguish Verdi as a com-
In Falstaff, this convention is poser.
abandoned, partially on the basis The artists must forget about
of its dramatic incongfuity, par- doctoring up the action with slap-
tially because the virtuoso singer stick, or making something of the
no longer dominates the perform- roles that is not suggested by the
ance. music.
But Verdi knows that an ef- They must instead devote their
fective melody reaches its cli- maximum efforts to communicat-
mactic point on a high note. ing the srength and vitality i-
Such melodic climaxes, often -plied in this music.
moretrying for a singerthan the Second, the audience must
more hw fetso i al ma intain this same intense level o
more showy effects of his early concentration. Things happen
oeras, will not be absent in Fa- nd the somed is gone
f before we realize it.
AMID this development of Verd Given a chance to speak for
A I hsdvlpmn fVri itself, and to be listened to mean-
as a composer, we will find ingfully, Falstaff emerges as the
two important things which are masterpiece of a sincere atist,
constant. expressing the fullness of his en-
This first is a certain sincerity joyment of life.
and directness, emerging from a
rough-hewn, Provincial back-
ground, and always distinguish-
sole from the more polished re-
finement of his contemporaries:
Bellini and Donietti at the be-P astur
ginning of his career, Puccini at
the end. (Continued froe Page 9)
Verdi's melodies are a little more
angular, his rhythms less subtle, ed and faded from the last worth-
his harmony often a bit uncertain, less rock hanging tideless in the
in his earlier works, this is a defi-. last red and dying evening, that
nite limitation. evei then thr'e will still beofne
As he emerges as a composer, more sound: that of his puny in-
these conditions do not change; exhaustible voice, still talking. I
rather they are put to use, creat- refuse to accept this.
ing the strength and integrity "I believe that man will not
which is the most distinguishing merely endure: he will prevail. He

characteristic of his style. A good is immortal, not because he alone
example of this is his writing for among creatures has an inexhaust-
trumpets, able voice but because he has a
In 1840, the trumpet had just soul, a spirit capable of compassion
acquired its valves, enabling it to and sacrifice and endurance.
play more melodic phrases instead "The poet's, the writer's, duty
of the sounds we hear today on a is to write about these things. It
bugle. is his privilege to help man en-
Vfrdi never developed a dis- dure by lifting his heart, by re-
tinctive style of writing for the minding him of the courage and
new . instrument, always using it honor and hope and compassion
for a non-melodic emphasis on and pity and sacrifice which have
color, been the glory of his past. The
His contemporaries developed poet's voice need not merely be the
the idiom for the improved Crum- record of man, it can be one of
pet, but Verdi never comprehend- the props, the pillars to help him

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See them and enjoy them.
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"For Over a Quarter of a Century"

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Ied its possibilities.

endure and prevail."

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