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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000511.txt from 2004/10

From: "Kenneth Wolman" <kenneth.wolman@-----.net>
Subj: Re: [kl] the Worst Scenery Ever
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 11:43:31 -0400

God, I'm going to regret this, but I might as well ask anyway....

I don't know if bass clarinets were used in Verdi operas in 1853. I am a h=
opeless orchestra-watcher during opera performances (if the singing stinks =
I can always watch the pros in the pit), and in earlier Verdi works, I don'=
t remember seeing a bass. Could the bass clarinet play bassoon music? WHY=
? The sounds are entirely different and set a different mood. When DID Ve=
rdi begin using the BC? Could it have been as early as Traviata, or is usi=
ng a bass clarinet indeed a cost-cutting or otherwise questionable bit of "=
intepretation" by the music director? Certainly the staging as described s=
uggests either making a virtue(?) of not having any money, or represents ye=
t another example of what American operagoers (we tend to be a bit more lit=
eral-minded?) call Eurotrash, v. the Paris Opera production of Walkure seve=
ral years back where Dame Gwyneth Jones had to sing Brunnhilde while plucki=
ng chickens. A few weeks ago I saw a tape of a notorious though superbly s=
ung Covent Garden production of Rigoletto (same period as Trav) in which th=
e courtiers were played as a kind of punk street gang, and where, during Ac=
t I, there was full frontal nudity and a simulated onstage rape of Count Mo=
nterone's daughter. This is almost justifiable--there are always suggestio=
ns that the court of the Duke of Mantua is a sleazepit, but this version di=
dn't even attempt refinement--it showed the decadence for all it was worth =
and was intensely unpleasant.

Hey, at least I mentioned clarinets first....

Ken

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