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Pietro Mascagni: Zanetto

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Pietro Mascagni:ZANETTO   

Odyssey Opera Orchestra

Gil Rose, Conductor

CAST

Eleni Calenos … Silvia

Eve Gigliotti … Zanetto

The lonely courtesan Silvia suddenly finds herself falling in love with the young poet and wandering minstrel, Zanetto, who believes her to be a noblewoman. Afraid he will discover her identity, Silvia orders Zanetto away and, alone, blesses lost love for unleashing feelings she believed were gone.

“Perhaps the most intriguing rediscovery at hand is Mascagni’s Zanetto. Completed in 1896, seven years after the composer’s smash hit, Cavelleria rusticana, this chamber-size piece perplexed critics and audiences. Its languid charm and psychological nuance were too subtle for large opera houses. The libretto adapted a French play that once served as a vehicle for Sarah Bernhardt, cross-dressing in the title role of a wandering male minstrel. In what he originally called a “lyric scene,” Mascagni also creates Zanetto as a “pants role” for mezzo-soprano. The other character is Silvia, a soprano, an aging courtesan in the countryside outside Renaissance era Florence, weary of life and love. That is, until handsome Zanetto appears beneath her window, singing a lilting serenade (one of Mascagni’s great tunes). What follows is an extended dialogue that ebbs and flows as the two engage in a Freudian battle of sexual wits. The lush orchestration often sounds like source material for Nino Rota’s score for The Godfather.” —Boston Globe

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