Sunday, January 09, 2005

Faltering, errant panelists

So I tuned mid-way into the Live from the MET Otello broadcast yesterday, and caught a portion of the intermission Quiz. The host, I gather, was Brian Zeger, and the topic was something about prayers in opera. Not sure who the panelists were. Excerpts are played, and everyone gets Musetta's prayer at the end of Boheme, and someone gets the hard one -- a prayer from Jenufa. Then, amazingly, Fiordiligi's great Rondo "Per Pieta," from Cosi fan Tutte is played.

And no one gets it right!!!

One panelist identifies it correctly as Fiordiligi, but can't name the aria. The other one, identifies the aria but totally misses the context and improvises it: "She's is praying for her lover's safe return from war," he says. The host "corrects" him, and says, "no, actually she is praying to God to give her strengh in her fidelity," or something to that effect. Of course, that is also wrong!

In that particular excerpt, one of the most amazing pieces of music Mozart's ever created, Fiordiligi is not really praying, but actually making a plea of forgiveness to her absent lover -- "Per pieta, ben mio, perdona!" -- for her errant, faltering soul who begins to weaken in her resolve.

So there you have it.

© 2005 C. Chang

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