post from DownWithTyranny!
on 19 August 2012 01:00:39 PM. © DownWithTyranny!
Plácido Domingo as the Doge and Ana Maria Martínez
as Maria Boccanegra in Los Angeles this past February
VERDI: Simon Boccanegra: Act I, Scene 1: Boccanegra and Maria, "Ah!" . . . Boccanegra, "Figlia a tal nome io palpito"
MARIA BOCCANEGRA: Father! Ah! Clasp to your breast Maria, who loves you!Leyla Gencer (s), Maria Boccanegra; Tito Gobbi (b), Simon Boccanegra; Vienna Philharmonic, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, cond. Live performance from the Salzburg Festival, Aug. 9, 1961by Ken
SIMON BOCCANEGRA [simultaneously]: Ah! daughter my heart calls you!
SIMON B: Ah! Daughter, daughter my heart calls you!
MARIA B: Ah! Clasp to your breast Maria, who loves you!
SIMON B: Daughter! At the name I tremble
as if Heaven had opened up to me.
You reveal to me
a world of unspeakable joy;
your loving father will create
for you a paradise;
the luster of my crown
will be your glory.
Above we hear the moment of recognition, which we heard in last week's Sunday Classics preview, "Together again, and all's right with the world -- more or less
," introducing opera's two great recognition scene. We listened last week to the one in Richard Strauss's Elektra
, when Elektra and Orest, over great obstacles and with great difficulty, finally recognize each other as sister and brother.
Now we return to the scene in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra
when both Simon, now Doge of Genoa, and the young woman who has been known as Amelia Grimaldi, understand that she is in fact his long-ago-abducted daughter Maria. As I noted, we heard the actual moment of recognition last week, but we stopped short of the meltingly beautiful solo thatfollows immediately.
I described these two scenes last week as "scenes whose power over me undoubtedly exceeds anything I'll be able to explain," and in presenting the Elektra
scene I didn't even try. As we approach the Boccanegra
scene, I will just suggest that while there likely are people who have never felt some version, albeit likely less extreme, of the feeling of utter-aloneness-in-the-world felt by both pairs of characters, and consequently truly don't experience a wrench of the gut at these instances of the character pairs, against all odds, being reunited with another person who is closely related to them, and more importantly entirely with them, on their side, available to kiss the booboo and make it better.
Before we proceed to the full scene, I thought we might hear just the final word of the scene. According to the stage direction: "MARIA, accompanied by her father all the way to the threshold, enters the palace. SIMON contemplates her ecstatically as she disappears," after which "he says one last time": "Daughter!" This last "Figlia!
" could hardly be set more simply: dolcissimo
(very sweetly) and very softly, the first syllable on the baritone's high F (not that
high for a baritone, but right on the vocal "break"), dropping for the second syllable to the F an octave below.
Here are four renditions of this final bit. I'll identify the performers in the click-through.The final "Figlia!"TO CONTINUE WITH THE RECOGNITION SCENE
FROM SIMON BOCCANEGRA, CLICK HERE
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