Weekly Video #42

On Wednesday, this concert with Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky happened in Moscow and because most of us tragically couldn’t make it to Moscow that evening, some kind person has put it on YouTube and I would recommend you watch it.

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5 Worst Operatic Fathers

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I thought it would be nice to celebrate it by making a list of the worst fathers in opera. I have decided to do a list of the worst one because it’s so much easier and anyway the best fathers in opera are normally the ones who just do nothing and let their children mess up their own lives by themselves.

5. Giorgio Germont (from La traviata by Verdi) 

This guy isn’t such an awful dad because, admittedly, the only reason he makes Violetta break his son’s heart (not to mention her own) in order to let his daughter get married. So it all sounds theoretically okay until Violetta gives up the will to live and dies and he ends up looking like the bad guy (although the bad guy should have been the Baron or just society generally).

Renee Fleming as Violetta with Thomas Hampson as Germont

4. Rigoletto (from Rigoletto by Verdi)

Rigoletto’s problem is that he is simply the most overprotective father of all time. Yes, it is sweet that he loves his daughter and wants her to have a happy, innocent childhood but when it gets to the point where she is desperate to get outside but has no idea what outside is like, it’s fairly obvious that something’s going to go wrong.

Placido Domingo as Rigoletto

3.Marquis of Calatrava (from La forza del destino by Verdi)

Yes, he died but maybe if he hadn’t been so controlling over his daughter (not to mention racist) then maybe it wouldn’t have happened. Still not a valid excuse to curse her.

2. Philip II (from Don Carlo by Verdi)

Philip is difficult to put in this list at all because he’s a lot easier to sympathise with than any of the others. He’s kinda got a difficult life, what with being king etc. etc. but he’s still a horrible dad. He cancels his son’s marriage (sure, it was an arranged marriage so it shouldn’t really matter, but they were in love), tries to get permission to kill him and then kills his best friend instead, thereby ruining opera’s greatest bromance (teen speak for ‘ultimate friendship’). And then he changes his mind and decides to try and kill his son after all. It’s fairly self-explanatory as to why this guy is not a good dad. N.B. ‘God did it’ is not a valid excuse for killing your children.

Ferruccio Furlanetto as Philip II

1. Wotan (from the Ring Cycle by Wagner)

Wotan’s main mistake was basically just having children in the first place. Not only does it make his wife seriously annoyed with him, these children would probably also come first in a list of Opera’s Worst Children. Anyhow, Wotan ends up spending the rest of eternity chasing around the universe trying to make them kill or fall in love with each other. And then one of them blows up the universe. He’s such a bad parent that even his own grandson doesn’t like him. Nice parenting skills.

Bryn Terfel as Wotan and a random bird thing

Obviously, there are other examples of operatic fathers such as Timur (from Turandot), Il Commendatore (from Don Giovanni) and Simon Boccanegra (from Surely You Can Work This One Out Yourself) but I have limited it to the first 5 examples of awful parenting that sprang to mind.

UPDATE~~~ I received an insightful comment on this post that I thought would be nice to share with you all:

Do any of you will cause a reflexive strike for a game fish.
My friend and our editorial director Josh Fruhlinger will be taking 12 individuals through a week of leverage also known
as Survival Gear? survival gear is stimulating, providing enough
energy to do tedious tasks in longer period.
Dec 14, 2010, 7:52am ESTSassy *bacon makes me happy* Cat Dec 14,
2010, 4:10am EST Matthew, Remember the December 15 date I
had mentioned previously?

 

Weekly Video #23

Today, I would like to introduce you to Opera Imaginaire. It’s a series of animations based around bits of opera. There’s 11 in total – from: La Traviata

Pagliacci

Carmen

Le Nozze di Figaro

Madama Butterfly

Les Pêcheurs de Perles

Die Zauberflöte

La Cenerentola

Faust

Rigoletto

Lakmé

Tosca

Here’s the one from Traviata, in a playlist with the others (this one is my favourite though, it’s so cute and there are profiteroles dancing to Verdi. LOVE!)

*Ok, whatever, it’s decided to start with Pagliacci. There is probably some techy way to work out how to get it to start from the Traviata video, but I can’t be bothered right now*

Weekly Video #19

This is the film of Rigoletto that stars Pavarotti, Gruberova and Ingvar Wixell. I know I have recently featured another Rigoletto film on this blog, but I still think this deserves a mention because it is really very good. The other reason that I have chosen this film is because of a certain scene, namely the bit that starts around 1:36:20, with Sparafucile and Maddalena. I love this scene, it’s very dramatic and the music is very striking and, in this case, so is the acting. However, having watched this part several times, I have only just found out that Sparafucile in this film is played by Ferruccio Furlanetto. I am shocked. Like literally, actually SHOCKED. Shocked as in ” How did I not notice that before?” and “OMG, he looks like a totally different person!”

This cat appears to have the same emotions as my brain at this particular moment.

In case the reader does not know, this is what Furlanetto normally looks like nowadays:

Photo from Die Oper Kocht Facebook page.

And here is the video:

 

Weekly Video #12

Now, I would like to say that I am completely aware that for the last three weeks (I know, it’s shocking, isn’t it), there have been no Weekly Videos on this blog. This is due to a technical difficulty, namely that I do have a life outside blogging that does sometimes require my attention. So for the next three days we will have these videos to make up for it.

For today, because it was La Divina’s birthday on Sunday, here is a recording of one of her masterclasses at Julliard from 1971-2. Here she demonstrates how to sing the great aria from Rigoletto, ‘Cortigiani, vil razza dannata’. Yes, she was quite old at this point. And yes, this is a baritone aria. But no, that does not stop her from sounding wonderful.