Last night I attended a performance in San Diego of Ildebrando Pizzetti’s ASSASSINIO NELLA CATEDRALE which had its premiere at La scala in 1958, and was based on T. S. Eliot’s verse drama MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL.
Created for the great Italian bass Nicola Rossi Lemeni, it has been rarely revived in the more than fifty years since its creation, but every so often a great singer, like Ferruccio Furlanetto can persuade a company to mount a production, which is really a showcase for the artist appearing as Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.
The music has many influences, and one can hear traces of Wagner and Debussy, but most obviously, a touch of Respighi. It is a static work, in many ways more like a religious pageant or oratorio than an opera, but it is a worthy star vehicle for someone of Mr. Furlanetto’s stature, and was magnificent. There are ten other solo roles, but none of them really matter. The other major principal role in the opera is taken by the chorus, and in San Diego the chorus rose to the challenges of the complex choral writing. [Read more…]