Wednesday, May 28, 2003

[5/29/2011] Preview: Before they knew they were mortal enemies, "Forza"'s Alvaro and Carlo were battlefield besties (continued)


Baritone Robert Merrill and tenor Jussi Bjoerling recorded a gorgeous batch of duets, including "Solenne in quest'ora," for RCA in 1950-51.

VERDI: La Forza del destino: Act III, Scene 1,
Scene, Don Carlo-Surgeon-Don Alvaro, "Piano, qui posi" . . .
Duettino, Don Alvaro-Don Carlo, "Solenne in quest'ora"

Don Alvaro, wounded and unconscious, is brought in in on a stretcher by four grenadiers. On one side of him the SURGEON, on the other DON CARLO, covered with dust and very distressed. A soldier sets a dispatch case down on a small table. The stretcher is laid down almost in the centre of the scene.

CARLO: Gently, put him here. Prepare my bed for him.
CARLO: Is he in danger?
SURGEON: The bullet in his chest causes me concern.
CARLO: Oh, save him!
ALVARO [gaining consciousness]: Where am I?
CARLO: With your friend.
ALVARO: Let me die.
CARLO: Our treatment will save you. You will be awarded

the Order of Calatrava.
ALVARO [starting up]: Of Calatrava! Never! Never!
CARLO: (What! You shudder at the name of Calatrava!)
ALVARO: My friend …
SURGEON: If you talk …
ALVARO One word only.
CARLO [to the SURGEON]: Be good enough to leave us.
[The SURGEON withdraws to the background. DON ALVARO beckons to DON CARLO to come nearer.]

Duettino, "Solenne in quest'ora"
ALVARO: You must swear to me, in this solemn hour,
to carry out a wish of mine.
CARLO [much moved]: I swear.
ALVARO: Look above
My heart.
CARLO [he does so and discovers a key]: A key!
ALVARO [pointing to the case]:
With it you will take out
A hidden packet. I entrust it to your honor.
Within is a secret which must die with me.
Burn it when I am dead.
CARLO: It shall be done, I swear.
ALVARO: Now I can die in peace. I press you to my heart.
CARLO [embracing him with great emotion]:

My friend, trust in heaven. Farewell.
ALVARO: Farewell.
[The SURGEON and orderlies carry the wounded man into the bedroom.]

["Solenne" only] Enrico Caruso (t), Don Alvaro; Antonio Scotti (b), Don Carlo; instrumental ensemble. Victor, recorded March 13, 1906

Jussi Bjoerling and Robert Merrill
["Solenne" only] Jussi Bjoerling (t), Don Alvaro; Robert Merrill (b), Don Carlo; RCA Victor Orchestra, Renato Cellini, cond. RCA/BMG, recorded Jan. 3, 1951

Helge Roswaenge and Heinrich Schlusnus
["Solenne" only, in German, as "Die Stunde ist heilig"] Helge Roswaenge (t), Don Alvaro; Heinrich Schlusnus (b), Don Carlo; Berlin Radio Orchestra, Arthur Rother, cond. BASF, recorded 1942

Richard Tucker and Leonard Warren
["Solenne" at 1:25] Leonard Warren (b), Don Carlo; Algerd Brazis (bs), Surgeon; Richard Tucker (t), Don Alvaro; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fritz Stiedry, cond. Live performance, Nov. 29, 1952

Mario del Monaco and Ettore Bastianini
["Solenne" at 1:26] Ettore Bastianini (b), Don Carlo; Eraldo Coda (bs), Surgeon; Mario del Monaco (t), Don Alvaro; Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Rome), Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, cond. Decca, recorded summer 1955 (stereo)

Franco Corelli and Anselmo Colzani
["Solenne" on track 2] Anselmo Colzani (b), Don Carlo; Walter Knetlar (bs), Surgeon; Franco Corelli (t), Don Alvaro; Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company Orchestra, Anton Guadagno, cond. Live performance, Apr. 14, 1965

Plácido Domingo and Giorgio Zancanaro
["Solenne" on track 2] Giorgio Zancanaro (b), Don Carlo; Frank Hadrian (bs), Surgeon; Plácido Domingo (t), Don Alvaro; Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Riccardo Muti, cond. EMI, recorded July 6-15, 1986 (stereo)


What does Forza dos that couldn't be done in any medium except opera? Some thoughts.


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