Music and Vision homepage


<<  -- 2 --  Bill Newman    CELEBRATORY PARADE


Menotti sees his own personality make-up as a fusion of both, but more acutely he realises how to examine and exploit other key characters in relation to the tightly constructed, fast-moving plot, played over three acts. His skill as a communicator also derives from other past experiences, such as neighbours standing and sitting chanting the litany, the feast day celebrations with their holiday and street parade, the Italian toasts (still prevalent in Tuscany) at weddings, and the deafening sound of the New York subway.

Gian Carlo Menotti

With up to 24 performers, sometimes more on the stage (Act 2, scene 1; Acts 2 and 3), the balance of a large orchestra, chorus and various soloists has to be exact, meaningful and capable of every subtle change of mood and focus or sudden dramatic effect. And this is where Menotti, master dramatist, superb orchestrator and rich harmoniser of large choruses, matches forces in the pit with those taking part rear stage to balance perfectly with the main cast centre stage.

La Santa di Bleecker Street (The Saint of Bleecker Street) poster for Spoleto 2001

He offers hardly any concessions during tuttis, everyone has to sound spot on starting with the huge orchestra and their series of leit-motif themes closely associating character and plot sequence. Then comes the different instrumental solos and combinations, the strands of colour and rhythmic inflections which embrace poetic and dramatic styles that stem back to the peaks of post-romantic opera glories, whether of Italian, French, German or Russian origin.

Throughout, whatever is being sung on stage comes directly from some plaintive solo strain of melody or massive upsurges of strings, winds, brass and percussion at chosen dramatic peaks. Menotti knows precisely where to place them, his audience never has to wait expectantly for some new change or development, their attention governed by the pace of the action and the emotional uplift dictated by the performers.

Continue >>

Copyright © 20 November 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK






 << Music & Vision home           The name of the game >>