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11/24/98: Is it more difficult to do two different operas, like Cavalleria and Pagliacci, than to do one?

I think the answer is basically “no” in musical terms; I do not think of Cavalleria and Pagliacci as harder because there are two stories—with two beginnings, middles, and ends, different settings, and so on. But it is an interesting question.

Certainly, interpreting two different composers’ styles in an evening adds complexity, but some single-story, full-length operas present a lot of variety and technical problems. Sheer length is always a challenge. Even when it is not the most complex musically, any long evening requires discipline, concentration, and a kind of mental stamina. It is also true that short works tend to be very intense. There are far fewer tranquil or lyrical passages in an evening with two short operas than in most longer operas, and such a program can be more draining in that regard. But, again, there are full-length operas that are pretty driven from beginning to end.

It is hard to cast and produce an evening with more than one story, of course, and a large cast means that there are that many more people to get to know in rehearsal.

©1998 by Joseph Rescigno. The text here may be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes as long as credit is given.

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