Some interesting facts about the masterpieces included in our program
Spring” (Allegro) from “The four Seasons”
Vivaldi's Primavera is the most famous of the four concertos in "The Four Seasons." It opens in the radiant key of E major. The Concerto's model can be found in the use of refrains (the tutti), repeated six times. The first solo interlude (the Song of the Birds) is given to three solo violins. Note the shimmering sonority achieved by Vivaldi, the naturalness of the chirping, though constrained by a strict rhythmic structure. After the tutti, the violins imitate the flow of water through subdued legato sixteenths. Stupendous the episode of thunder and lightning: one and the same note rebated violently, almost the phonic transformation of a visual effect (the black clouds in the distance).
The Largo that follows is remarkable for the superimposition of three autonomous elements, capable of creating a sense of space: in the background, the murmur of foliage and plants (violins in third), the melody of the principal violin expresses the sleeping goat, and, finally, the repeated notes of the violas that imitate the barking of the dog (the dog shouting), and which Vivaldi prescribes to be played "always very loud and torn."
“E lucevan le stelle” from “Tosca”
The Tosca that will be heard Dec. 7 at La Scala is the one that made its debut on Jan. 14, 1900, at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome: no one has performed it that way since, because Puccini was constantly reworking the scores, modifying and " fixing" them. For example, Puccini scholar Roger Parker explains, he did not anticipate the applause at the end of Vissi d'arte, in the second act, so he later inserted a pause. This philological recovery of Puccini is part of conductor Riccardo Chailly's desire to rediscover versions of the operas' early performances.
“Galop” from “Guglielmo Tell”
The finale, often known as the "March of the Swiss Soldiers," is in E major, but it is in contrast a musical galopp announced by trumpets and played by the entire orchestra with pointed rhythm. It alludes to the final act, which recounts the victorious battle of the Swiss soldiers during the liberation of their homeland from Austrian repression. The segment has a duration of about three minutes.
Although there are no horses or cavalry charges in the opera, this segment is often used in popular media to refer to galloping horses, a race, or a hero on horseback. The Finale is mentioned by Johann Strauss father in his William Tell Galop (Op. 29b), published and and and performed a few months after the Paris premiere of the original, and by Dmitry Dmitrievič Šostakovič in the first movement of his Symphony No. 15.
“Nessun dorma” from “Turandot”
Puccini did not complete the opera. The finale was written by Maestro Franco Alfano. At the premiere of this opera Toscanini stopped and closed the opera at the very point where Puccini stopped writing it. Addressing the audience Toscanini said something like this, "Here the opera ends because at this point the maestro is dead."
Although the aria was written for tenor, it has also been recorded by female singers (outside the opera world, it is true) with powerful voices: Aretha Franklin in 1998 and Italian superstar Mina in 2009. In 2011 she took then 11-year-old opera singer Jackie Evancho the song for her second album Dream with Me.