My Kindle copy of The Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon has arrived. It says, "Italians cared little for the Baroque [heroine is a baroque specialist]. No, only Verdi, Rossini, and--God help us all, she thought, as a small shudder walked a descending cadence down her spine--Puccini." I can't cite a page number. Kindle doesn't have them. The screen says 3%.
How can one resist someone who shudders over Puccini? I am only inclined to shudder over Parsifal, but still.
I have been trying to explain it. I was raised on wonderful Baptist hymns like "Rock of Ages," and when professional concerns led me to participate in the music of other religions, I was forced to become aware of the tradition of adding an "amen" to the end of hymns. Usually this was a simple plagal cadence, but sometimes it was that most corny and cloying of musical phrases--the Dresden Amen. Just thinking about it now makes me shudder.
So you see, I was quite horrified to find that there existed an opera where this monstrosity repeated endlessly throughout. Jonas is singing in an upcoming Met simulcast of Parsifal, and I am determined to make it all the way to the end. Still. Maybe there will be scenes without it. I can only hope. And yes, the Dresden Amen antedates Parsifal.
SF Opera's Madama Butterfly
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