Showcase Sep-Nov 2014 - page 29

Riccardo Zandonai
May 30, 1883, Sacco di Rovereto
(then part of Austria-Hungary)
June 5, 1944, Pesaro
“Ier della fabbrica a Triana,” from
? We won’t hear any music from
this opera tonight, but we will hear music that could
well remind you of
. The setting is Seville,
the same city as
. In fact, the words of Conchita’s
Act I aria, “Ier dalla fabbrica a Triana” (Triana is a district
of Seville), might almost have come from Carmen herself,
as she capriciously and seductively taunts three “fine
gentlemen” who have followed her on the way home
from the cigar factory where she works. (Carmen, we
recall, made cigarettes.) A flamenco touch to the music
further adds to the Spanish flavor of the aria.
’s composer, Riccardo Zandonai, was prominent
in his time, but he retains only a toehold in the opera
house today, based on the strength of one work,
da Rimini. Conchita
, based on Pierre Louÿ’s 1898 novel
La Femme et le pantin
, preceded
by three years
and saw its first performance at Milan’s Teatro dal Verme
on October 14, 1911. The title role was sung by Tarquinia
Tarquini, who married the composer six years later.
Leonard Bernstein
August 25, 1918, Lawrence, Massachusetts
October 14, 1990, New York City
“Somewhere” and “I Feel Pretty,”
from West Side Story
ight from its opening night on Broadway, September
26, 1957,
West Side Story
became one of the biggest
success stories in the history of American music.
Program Notes
The stunning fusion of Arthur Laurents’ book, Stephen
Sondheim’s lyrics, Jerome Robbins’ choreography and
Bernstein’s music brought new meaning to the universal
Romeo and Juliet story, which was transported to a
modern urban setting with rival street gangs replacing
ancient Veronese families. “Somewhere” is sung shortly
after Tony has killed Maria’s brother Bernardo, as the
young lovers dream of an ideal world where “somehow,
someday, somewhere,” their love will survive and
everyone, including rival street gangs, will be united in
friendship. In the original Broadway show, “Somewhere”
was sung offstage by soprano Reri Grist during a ballet
sequence. (In the 1961 film adaptation, Maria and Tony
sing it as a duet.) Maria sings “I feel pretty” as she is
dressing up for an evening out on the town with Tony.
The upbeat music and unforgettable tune invariably leave
audiences feeling pretty happy too.
Ottorino Respighi
July 9, 1879, Bologna
April 18, 1936, Rome
The Pines of Rome
or a truly splendiferous finale to this gala evening,
we hear a score just bursting with brilliant effects,
resplendent orchestration and intoxicating rhythms.
This is Respighi’s
Pines of Rome
(1924). Rome, the
“Eternal City,” was a natural fit for a musician of
Respighi’s antiquarian inclinations, a city steeped in
history, studded with monuments and statues, richly
endowed with great art and architecture.
The Pines of the Villa Borghese
, noisy children are at play.
Suddenly the scene changes to
Pines near a Catacomb
, where
shadows are thrown by the pines crowning the entrance to a
catacomb. A mournful chant rises from the depths, floating
through the air like a solemn hymn.
The Pines of the Janiculum
are experienced in the light of the full moon, a nightingale
adding its music to the scene. In the misty dawn of
The Pines
of the Appian Way
, we hear the indistinct, incessant rhythm of
muffled footsteps. Then appears a vision of past glory: in the
grandeur of the rising sun, an army advances inexorably on
the Capitoline Hill to the accompaniment of brass fanfares.
Program notes by
Robert Markow
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