Muzio: “teneste la promessa….” without rivals
The reading of this all important letter upon which this woman’s whole being is resting in the last moments of her life is rarely EVER read with the right Italian nuance to the word uttered and the emotion intended and the history implied. There is so much tradition around it and so much based upon a time period that it was written for, the modern readings are too cold and dead too soon.
There is after all, hope…however fleeting….until…. “E’ tardi…”
I created this video for Youtube.com for everyone to enjoy this GREAT artist and to become familiar with perhaps for the first time. If anyone doesn’t know of Muzio and they wish to be a singer, something is terribly wrong.
This is the text I put in the video with it. It still devastates me and I have heard it more times than you could imagine or I will admit.
La Muzio revels in this glorious final act of Verdi’s great masterpiece, “La Traviata”.
This role has been sung well by many great stars, but here for me is one of the greatest and most haunting readings of this recitative and aria you will ever hear.
In a total concentration of talent and pure magic, Muzio so identifies with the doomed courtesan that she becomes her in the kind of performance that transcends the medium. Not just notes, but pieces of herself that are breaking off as melodious fragments of a life and soul coming to an end. A sick and breathless quality to the famous reading of the letter hauntingly confirms from the very beginning the nearness of death and hopelessness and as we are taken deeper into her world coming to a end, the heartbreak is almost unbearable. Exactly what Verdi begged for in his genius melodies and text, a living emotion in sound and words. Muzio is a vivid example of a type of expression that used to be demanded of singers…. the orchestra becomes an extension of her and not just music, she uses the entire piece to weave a spell transporting us all to this final moment in a life ultimately trasnfigured by the power of love.
This one could scar you for life!
I use the different effects in the “film” to suggest Violetta’s eyes….opening and closing at key points in the aria and recitative. Her state of mind.
…..and of course I include this haunting piece written for her by the same Monsigneur that wrote the sacred opera “Cecilia” for her; the amazing Father Lincinio Refice.
“Ombra di nube”
WARNING: Once you hear it you will be haunted by it.
This is a tribute to one of the greatest voices of all time.
Claudia Muzio 1889-1936
An expressive and magnificent artist, who has it all.
Famed Italian tenor Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, in his incredible books about music and philosophy , specifically in his book about the singers of his day, “Le voci parallele” he spoke about Muzio and describes Muzio’s sound as a voice of tremendous expression; one full of “tears and sighs”- she has long been an example of what opera can be about when it is not just someone singing notes of music, but using them to convey the deepest emotions of not just the singer, but all of us., My mother introduced me to her, yet another thing to thank her for….. I love this voice so much, I grew up listening to and being moved by this great artist, her life and her music.
This selection is a melody written by her great friend and admirer, Lincinio Refice (1885-1954), a priest that wrote many pieces for Muzio, one most famously being his sacred opera “Cecilia”, and this little beauty.
He wanted someone with God in their throat……..
He found it!
Frankly, anyone hearing her is never going to be the same.
No copyright infringement intended. Private video of mine made by me in tribute.