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Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era

The war is over and the army is about to return.

Aida libretto (English/Italian) - opera by Giuseppe Verdi

Amneris reclines in her apartment and grieves over the absence of Rhadames. Aida reveals her love and Amneris breathes vengeance. The second scene takes place in the great square. Rhadames returns triumphant, bringing several Ethiopian prisoners. One is Amonasro, but the conquerors do not know that he is the King.

The King, after listening to the advice of the Priest, releases all save Amonasro, who is condemned to remain in slavery with his daughter. The King then precipitates the tragedy of the opera by giving the hand of Amneris to Rhadames in recognition of his great national services. The third act is in one scene and takes place on Edition: current; Page: [ [viii] ] the banks of the Nile.

Amneris enters the temple of Isis to pray on the eve of her marriage. Amonasro enters and commands her to use her power over Rhadames to make him disclose the Egyptian plans.

She refuses, but in a stormy duet her father overpowers her reluctance. He retires and Rhadames enters. Amonasro now comes forward, and, saying that he has heard the secret, informs Rhadames that he is the King. Amneris comes from the temple just in time to overhear some of this. The fourth act has two scenes. The first takes place in a room adjoining that in which Rhadames is to be tried. He refuses. She now falls into despair over the outcome of her own actions. Rhadames is tried by the Priests and condemned to be buried alive. As the Priests pass out with their prisoner Amneris curses them.

The second scene shows us the vault under the temple and also the temple above it. Rhadames, shut in the vault, prays for Aida, but she has succeeded in gaining admittance to the tomb in order that she may share his fate. They sing out their lives in the suffocating place, while above them the priestesses of the temple chant and Amneris kneels in grief on the stone which seals the tomb. This admirable operatic story was utilized by the composer in a work which astounded the entire world by its revelation of unexpected qualities of his genius and which revolutionized modern Italian opera.

It was the year in which Wagner was born, and these two men were destined to reform the whole method of operatic composition in the later years of the nineteenth century.

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Verdi received some Edition: current; Page: [ [x] ] instruction from local musicians and finally in applied for admission to the conservatory at Milan, but the director rejected him on the ground that he had no talent for music. So he studied privately in the Lombardy metropolis and later went back to Busseto as organist and conductor of the local musical society.

In , with a wife and two children, he went to Milan with an opera, and Merelli, director of La Scala, produced it. Then he commissioned Verdi to write more operas. The first, a comic opera, had to be finished just when the composer had lost his wife and children. Small wonder that it was a failure. These operas raised Verdi at once to the position of the foremost living composer of Italian opera, and if he had never produced anything else, they would have ensured for him a place beside such masters as Donizetti and Bellini and perhaps even Rossini.

But the Verdi of clear-cut characterization and keen psychological insight was not disclosed till later. For eighteen years he continued from time to time to put forth new works, but none of them made any lasting impression. Petersburg, Nov. In this last opera, however, the student can discern the beginnings of a transition. This opera marked the entrance of Verdi upon Edition: current; Page: [ [xiii] ] a new phase of his artistic career.

It instantly set him apart from all other Italian composers. This opera was followed by the famous Manzoni Requiem, produced in In at Milan on Feb. He lived in the seclusion of his Villa St. Agata at Busseto and there he passed away on Jan. Ismail Pacha, khedive of Egypt, a man of picturesque personality and brilliant ambition, ardently desired to be known as a leader in the polite world of European aristocracy.

Among other enterprises looking to the accomplishment of his aim, he undertook the building of the opera house at Cairo.

It was opened with much ceremony in But Ismail Pacha was not satisfied. What his opera house needed to make it celebrated throughout the world was a new opera on an Egyptian subject, expressly composed for this theatre by the most celebrated living master. An emissary was despatched to Verdi, who did not regard the proposition with favor. Not wishing to affront a potentate by a direct refusal, he named a price of such size that he was certain the Khedive would be frightened off, but Ismail accepted the terms without hesitation.

Then Verdi began to contemplate his task, and as the possibilities of splendid musical color offered by an Egyptian subject opened Edition: current; Page: [ [xv] ] before his mind, he became enamored of the idea and entered into the project with enthusiasm. Mariette Bey, a distinguished Egyptologist, was requested by the Khedive to find a suitable story. He did find an incident in the ancient history of the country and from it he planned the groundwork of the libretto of the opera. Camille du Locle, a Parisian, wrote out the lyrics and the dialogue in French prose. He worked at Busseto by the side of Verdi, who was thus enabled to bring to the new work his long experience in the construction of operas.

The arrangement of the last scene with the double stage showing the temple and the vault under it was entirely the design of the composer. Signor A. Ghislanzoni translated the prose of du Locle into Italian and at the same time turned it into verse, suitable for musical setting. This Italian verse was afterward retranslated into French verse for Parisian performances.

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Verdi began his labors with vigor and his opera was completed within the allotted time. Verdi intended to do so, but when the time arrived he refused.

The great master had a mortal fear of seasickness. The opera was to have been produced in , but the scenery had been painted in Paris, and when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, it could not be taken out of the city. Verdi occupied himself with alterations and improvements in his opera. For one thing he eliminated a chorus in the style of his famous predecessor Palestrina, for whom all his life he had a profound admiration and of whose music he was a continual student.

But he felt that the Italian ecclesiastic style was not quite suitable to the priesthood of Isis.

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Geroglifici E Il Mito Dell'egitto Nel Rinascimento

It was on Dec. The first performance in New York took place on Nov. Previous to this the opera had been produced in Milan, Paris and London. It went through the musical world with great rapidity and it has preserved its early vitality in a marked degree. Verdi was charged with submitting himself in this opera to the influence of Wagner, but the work is built on purely Italian lines.

Without question it was in this triumphant demonstration of the splendid dramatic possibilities of the old Italian forms in opera that Verdi showed himself to be the leader of lyric art in his country and a teacher for all the rest of the world. The ready manner in which Leoncavallo and Mascagni adopted the entire apparatus of Verdi, contributing to opera only the novelty of condensation into one act, shows what a powerful influence he had on his compatriots. One Edition: current; Page: [ [xix] ] hears no more the simple elementary dance rhythms upon which so many of his former airs rested.

In abandoning these old dance rhythms the master also discontinued the employment of the primitive scheme of harmony so familiar in the older Italian operas. He sought to impart to his music a great depth of expression by the use of the rich variety of chord successions which had come into modern music.

It was in this department of his art that Verdi made one of his greatest strides and by it excited astonishment not only in Italy, but throughout the artistic world. Those who had never before regarded him as anything better than an unusually clever Italian opera writer now began to suspect that they were confronted by a profound master of music. Doubtless many hearers attribute this harmonic richness to the opulence Edition: current; Page: [ [xx] ] of the orchestration, but musicians will readily understand that the latter owes more to the former than vice versa. The employment of delineative devices is liberal and the introduction of what are known as color effects is frequent.

Naturally Verdi endeavored to create something which would strike his hearers as an imitation of Egyptian color and this had to be done in two or three ways. First and foremost it was open to the composer to sprinkle his score with ancient themes. But he preferred to make his own and to give them the necessary character. This he could do by imitating oriental melodic sequences, and rhythms. As for the eastern rhythms we may dismiss these as of little importance in an operatic score such as that under consideration.

The melodic sequences, however, are worthy of a passing note because Verdi has utilized them and with excellent effect. Not all of them are strictly Egyptian, but they are of kinds not found in western European Edition: current; Page: [ [xxi] ] music.