A troubled genesis Un Ballo in Maschera is arguably one of most popular opera by Giuseppe Verdi. Yet it had the most troubled genesis. Written for the San Carlo in Naples and never performed there Un Ballo in Maschera was originally composed to be staged in Naples as the last new opera written under the contract between the Teatro San Carlo and Verdi but was never performed there. The major changes imposed by the Bourbon censorship to the composer convinced Verdi to premiere it in Rome instead. Even the Papal censorship in 1859 allowed him more freedom than that of the Bourbons’. Last (missed) opportunity for a Verdi’s “King Lear” Initially, Verdi had suggested to the San Carlo management another subject: King Lear by William Shakespeare, a long-term project that this time seemed to finally have found a right opportunity. But a new problem came up. To stage King Lear 2 or 3 strong soloists were not enough: 5 at least were needed and the San Carlo couldn’t provide them. These circumstances convinced Verdi, after over 15 years, to finally abandon the project of staging a music version of King Lear. Verdi & Shakespeare Verdi was a great admirer of […]
Locked in my room, I recite the characters’ parts passionately and study my voice: its inflections, the tempo and pauses, in short the emphasis a man uses when he’s at the mercy of his passions. I then identify the right tempo and melody in order to allow the singers to express those passions by the means of harmony. I put the ideas on paper, try them on the harpsichord. When I feel the same emotion I wanted to express I judge I have succeeded; if I don’t, I look again for inspiration until I feel I’ve achieved my goal”.
Luciano Pavarotti, the gourmet Luciano Pavarotti, one of the greatest tenors of our time, was born, as some know, in Modena, one of the culinary centres of Italy, with excellent restaurants – indeed some of the best in the country. One of the best-known delicacies of the Modena area is Gnocco Fritto or “fried pancake”, an original and very tasty substitute for bread. Pavarotti’s father, just like Mascagni’s, was a baker. That could be among the reasons why Big Luciano, who was also famously a gourmet, was particularly fond of this most delicious local recipe. Gnocco Fritto: a very tasty substitute for bread On its own or accompanied by cured meats or cheese, the best way to enjoy gnocco fritto is when still hot, with a generous slice of pancetta (bacon) on top. It can be also served cold as a snack any time of the day. In Modena people would have it even for breakfast, accompanied by a nice cappuccino. Gnocco fritto is essentially fried dough and generally, comes in a rectangular shape. As it customary in Italy, the recipe which main ingredients are flour, water, and yeast, has many different versions and it’s even referred to in different […]
Riccardo Zandonai was one of the last Italian operatic master craftsmen. Although many Italian composers after him continued to write operas, none will show the same consistent dedication or would produce such an impressive body of works. Composer of symphonic and chamber music as well as sacred music, Zandonai was also a sensitive and intelligent conductor.