Who needs singers? Pappano does verismo

Remember the jokes about ‘conductor’s voice?’ Forget them.

This is the ROH music director’s take on Pagliacci.

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  • Absolutely great: educational, enjoyable, explained in just right proportion of musical terms and laymen language without snootiness or condescension. He should do more of these.

  • Strip away the trappings, and the emotional absurdity of opera becomes so apparent. The genre is about 100 years over due for compositions revealing major innovations. Unfortunately, the opera world is so hidebound and ossified it can’t move forward.

    • All literature, theatre, film, and opera is inherently absurd. But in their absurdity they speak truth. We can’t hear these truths any other way.

  • Mr Pappano – Firstly, bravo! Now just a thought about the emotion behind Cannio’s repeated “ridi, ridi” … I feel his self loathing in that word. He feels as if he’s just and only a clown to the world, as well as to the woman he loves, and he hates himself for it. Ridi is the word as knife.

  • And he can really conduct! [I know because I heard him live..] And (most amazingly) he grew up in Bridgeport!

        • Do you really think that all of the musicians in an orchestra are merely the conductor’s instrument? Like we’re mute and inanimate until someone brings us to life? An orchestra is actually filled with people—sentient, intelligent, motivated beings. And we’ve worked very hard to get where we are. Conductors don’t work harder than we do, and they’re no smarter; they just decided somewhere along the way that they were better suited to telling others how to play, instead of working on an instrument. The orchestra is not an instrument; it’s made up of individuals, earnestly playing their parts with others, regardless of who’s standing on the podium.

          • I think an orchestra is only as good as its conductor. Put me – an ordinary amateur musician – and Tony Pappano in front of the same brilliant ROH orchestra and you would notice the difference. You`d boo me out of the pit in no time.

  • Actually, when Canio sings “tu sei Pagliaccio” it is the horrifying realization that the character that he’s performed for years in town after town is actually the story of his life. He IS the cuckolded husband.

  • This was absolutely wonderful. He goes right to the heart of the matter, with the passion that he displays in his conducting pouring through all through the video in his demonstration.

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