Thursday, January 10, 2008


Bus, coffee, library, (presentation by the Seattle Opera of the upcoming showing of Pagliaci)
On to school, David likes the Violin concerto. I'll post it soon.
I gotta go to a Josh Roman concert,
Good by


Blogger Glenn Buttkus said...

Short but sweet, pregnant with possibilites to respond to, enit?

Seattle Opera opens its production of Leoncavallo's 'I Pagliacci'

The clown in striped pants, white smock and painted face is one of the most recognizable figures in opera. "I Pagliacci" ("The Clowns"), from which the character is taken, is equally famous.


COMPOSER: Ruggero Leoncavallo, with the libretto by the composer

ARTISTS: Principals in the cast include Antonello Palombi/John Uhlenhopp, Nuccia Focile/Eva Batori Gordon Hawkins/Mark Holland. Dean Williamson is the conductor and Bernard Uzan the stage director. Sets are from L'Opera de Montreal and costumes from Seattle Opera.

WHEN: Saturday night at 7:30 through Jan. 26

WHERE: McCaw Hall

TICKETS: $25-$169, with various discounts; 206-389-7676 or
Of the dozen or so operas and 10 operettas Ruggero Leoncavallo wrote in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, "Pagliacci" is the only one to enter the repertory. It came early in his career, the first opera he had published. Arturo Toscanini conducted the premiere in Milan, in 1892, and overnight the composer became famous.

After the Italian publishing house Ricordi refused to support his inaugural operatic effort, "I Medici," Leoncavallo sought to make his name with "Pagliacci," looking to Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana," premiered two years earlier, and its verismo style, then in vogue, as a model.

Very quickly the two one-act operas became inseparable and stayed pretty much that way for more than a century. Then, about five years ago the ground shifted and impresarios began to program "Pagliacci" apart from "Cavalleria rusticana." Its two scenes readily became two acts, with an intermission. Seattle Opera's latest production opens Saturday night at McCaw Hall.

Stage director Bernard Uzan doesn't know how the new fashion began but offers an assortment of possible reasons. One is financial. Doing two operas in one evening is costly. Another is that audiences have become less interested in long evenings at the theater, except for Wagner. A third is the narratives of the two operas are in many ways the same: crimes of passion among the lower classes in southern Italy.

A last reason, Uzan said, is that "Pagliacci" is "complete by itself, if done the right way. It gives you enough emotion for an entire evening."

Uzan never liked "Cavalleria" and "Pagliacci" together -- they're also known as "Cav/Pag" -- because of their similarity to each other in mood, period and emotional range. He prefers to pair "Pagliacci" with Puccini's "Sour Angelica."

"Puccini is less raw and less definite, with more nuances and colors," Uzan said, "and so the evening is more interesting."

To amplify "Pagliacci," Seattle Opera has done two things. It restored the customary cuts in the opera, making it complete and about 10 minutes longer. It also is adding a 12-minute dream sequence to open Act II to portray how Nedda and Canio met, when she was a poor young girl and he was a handsome acrobat in his 20s. The opera takes place about two decades later: Nedda is in the full bloom of youth and beauty and Canio has become an overweight clown.

"Canio's dream," said Uzan, "is really more of a nightmare."

The music for the dream sequence is from another Leoncavallo opera, "Zaza," written eight years later, discovered by Speight Jenkins, general director of Seattle Opera, who pored over the entire Leoncavallo catalog to find it. The music was arranged by Philip A. Kelsey, an assistant conductor with Seattle Opera, for a small circus-type ensemble.

Among other changes in the opera for this production is the time setting -- the 1950s instead of the late 19th century. Uzan said very little has happened in Calabria, where the opera is set, in the intervening half-century. The clothes are different, as are some props, such as a little car instead of a donkey.

"This makes it easier for the audience to really comprehend what is happening to these people," he said. "Also, I am a big fan of Italian movies from the 1950s, their neo-realism and, of course, Fellini and his films, particularly 'La strada' (1954) and 'Le notte di Cabiria' (1957)."

There are not so many theatrical difficulties in "Pagliacci," said Uzan, "because it is so well-written. When you work on a Verdi opera, you have to tell the story so that the audience can follow it. It can be very complicated. That is not the case with 'Pagliacci.' It is so compact, there are no minutes wasted anywhere. It is really extraordinary storytelling that you can follow every second, with real feelings and emotions.

"That is the challenge of the opera -- to convey the reality of those feelings."

David is showing good sense and fine taste in responding positively to your Violin Concerto. Love to hear it after you post it.

When are you off to the Josh Roman concert?

Cellist Joshua Roman began playing at the age of three. Since his first solo recital at the age of ten, he has performed a vast number of concerts and solo recitals − receiving acclaim for his strong command and embracement of a wildly varied repertoire. He has taken his sterling artistry, intelligent musicality and masterful technique to many cities in the United States and abroad.

As a concerto soloist, he has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, and the Wyoming Symphony. Joshua also regularly performs in venues such as clubs in the Seattle area and other cities, where the repertoire is as likely to be collaboration with a rock group or singer as it is to be a performance of a solo sonata by Zoltan Kodaly or J.S. Bach.

Since winning the Principal chair of the cello section of the Seattle Symphony at the age of 22, he has become a favorite of Seattle music lovers, with sold out solo and chamber performances around the city. Joshua has worked with many composers, and has had a wealth of new music written expressly for him. Among the classical composers he has worked with are Samuel Adler, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Syd Hodkinson. He has premiered music including concertos, sonatas, solo pieces and some of his own works as well.

Along with his rapidly growing solo career, Joshua is a frequent chamber music performer and has played with such musicians as Sergei Babayan, Earl Carlyss, Franklin Cohen, Desmond Hoebig, Paul Kantor, William Preucil, Lynn Ramsey, Marta Garcia Renart, Ann Schein, Joaquin Valdepenas, Virginia Weckstrom, and Christopher Zacharias.

Joshua received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Cello Performance in 2004 from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Richard Aaron. In 2005 he also received his Masters at CIM with Desmond Hoebig, Principal Cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Previous teachers include Lacy McLarry, Peter Spurbeck, and Gregory Sauer.

Joshua has also won top prizes in many competitions, including the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competitions, Cleveland Cello Society and National Federation of Music Clubs. Joshua frequently performs on cellos from the collection of David Fulton.

"Perhaps it is music that will save the world."
- Pablo Casals

Oddly on Joshua Roman's personal Home page and web site, there are no concert dates for 2008. Quite an oversight on his part.

Ciao, Ah-Reever-Dare-Chee, Auf Wiedersein, Via Con Dias, Adios, and as Lane says: Good by.


7:24 AM  
Blogger Lane Savant said...

I got to hear that famous recording of Caruso singing "Vesta la Guibba"
No hiss or pops so it has been digitized, but magnificent nontheless
"Quartet for the end of time" was good, an interesting piece of music.
The Radiohead was just a collection of monotonous (literal sense eg mono plus tonal) and also in the sense of "boring". The kids on stage had fun.
Young Josh obviously has a brilliant career ahead of him.
"brilliant career in show biz" can be similar
to "living in interesting times"
or "your daughter marrying a jazz musician.
In other words, a curse.
Let us all pray for his survival.

11:28 AM  

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