I adore cultural history. Pass me a book on the “Illuminated History of Light Fixtures in Venezuela” and—I’m in! So, suffice it to say, I perked right up when I saw that Fred Plotkin of “Opera News Online” has put together a superb feature story (just in time for Giacomo Puccini’s 150th birthday) examining the Italian passion for the works of Giuseppe Verdi versus America’s love for all things Puccini.
Personally, I think the Italians still hold Verdi in uber high regard, as much for his role as political icon as composer. But, as Plotkin points out, there are characteristics in the works of both these men that speak to the hearts of Italians and Americans, Romantics and Modernists, in entirely different ways.
I’m forced to admit that if both these legendary composers were bound, gagged and left on the railroad tracks with a bullet train fast approaching; I’d do my best to save Verdi — immediately after untying Maestro Puccini.
Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera