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Posted by Martin Walker on August 6, 2015, 10:27 am
A small point: I am not a Battistini expert, far from it, but I did a double take when I read of Battistini's recording of 'Pourquoi me réveiller' (Ah! non mi ridestar) - which I have never heard - since that was written for a tenor. The list at the bottom of the review gives several instances of transpositions but does not mention this one or the other aria from Werther, 'J'aurai sur ma poitrine'(Avrei sovra il mio petto). Was this list taken from the CD booklet? Checking on Wikipedia I discovered that Massenet himself made the transposition of the role for Battistini, which I think is quite significant in the context of the huge respect for this great singer among other artists. And it would be interesting to learn exactly how Massenet transposed the part, given that Battistini had a strikingly effective upper range but a less imposing lower range (at least on records). Massenet was in effect creating a new high baritone version of the role of Werther, and it would also be interesting to know whether anyone else has ever sung it.|
Posted by paul corfield godfrey on August 6, 2015, 10:57 am, in reply to "http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Aug/Battistini_560022.htm"
The matter of Massenet's transposition of the role of Werther for a 1902 production with Battistini was discussed at some length by Richard Fairman in an article for International Opera Collector (Autumn 1997 edition). Regarding "Pourquoi me reveiller" he observes: "Unfortunately, the rewriting for baritone necessitates a downward transposition at a crucial moment, leaving a misshapen solo deprived of its natural climax. If this version had not been the work of the composer, it is doubtful anybody would take it seriously. Not surprisingly, the baritone Werther has never taken off." Fairman notes that "he recorded a couple of solos from Act 2" as well. I can't comment on the actual results. |
Posted by Martin Walker on August 6, 2015, 11:21 am, in reply to "Re: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Aug/Battistini_560022.htm"
Hallo, Paul - yes, that is unfortunately the case with the 'Ah! non mi ridestar', which I have listened to on YouTube in the meantime: the score has been changed, as the sole comment remarks, and just when you expect the anguished climax the music wimps out, to use a hallowed vulgarism. Not having either perfect pitch or a score, I cannot exactly identify the notes, unfortunately. I listened to Schipa (in French) and Bergonzi (in Italian) afterwards - who induced the true shiver of recognition.|
Posted by Göran Forsling on August 8, 2015, 12:37 pm, in reply to "Re: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2015/Aug/Battistini_560022.htm"
Thomas Hampson sang the baritone version at the MET in 1999 and there is also a DVD with him and Susan Graham from 2002, obviously not from a staged performance but from a concert. I haven't seen it but there are several reviews at Amazon.|
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