Sunday, July 12, 2009

Music & the magic it envelopes

Put on the costume & no one sleeps

If you had been in Florence, Italy, in May of 1971, you would have had the opportunity to hear this voice and this tenor aria in person. Well, I was not there, either, but I heard recordings of this voice singing one song or another two or three or four times a week for a few years when I was a teenager.

There have been a few times when I have mentioned that I had a step-father who had lived on Long Island in New York for a decade and, when he returned to his hometown in Minnesota, brought with him an acquired love of opera, Broadway musicals and classical music in general. When he and my mother married, I became the beneficiary of hearing these forms of music. As you might imagine, few, if any, of my small town contemporaries were exposed to these types of music.

My step-father's favorite singer was Richard Tucker, an American who reportedly was more Italian in voice, demeanor and talent than any native-born Italian of his time. So, for the fun of it, here is an audio of Tucker singing "Vesti la Giubba" from Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci." This excerpt is from a live, May 1971, performance at Florence's May Festival. Riccardo Muti is conducting the orchestra. I picked this one to offer a taste of Tucker because everyone knows Florence is a mystical city, and because no one knows where he might find himself next May.

Following next is a clip of Tucker performing the sensually beautiful aria, "Nessum Dorma," from Puccini's "Turandot." The clip is from an "ancient" Ed Sullivan Show recorded in 1961. Too bad they did not permit Tucker to carry on the final note another five or six seconds. By the way, Turandot is one young lady a young man definitely does not want to lose his head over. Rock on, baby, and roll away ....

Song No. 1 -- Richard Tucker
Vesti la guibba = Put on the costume
Florence, Italy 1971

Song No. 2 -- Richard Tucker
Nessum dorma = No one sleeps
Ed Sullivan Show 1961

Will the real Fram please stand up

Just to make certain no one walks away from here thinking Fram is flipping his cookies (well, actually, he might be), here is a taste of the music more likely to be identified with him. David Coverdale is a fairly typical, fairly average (I think) singer who generally is identified with the bands Deep Purple or Whitesnake. Jimmy Page might be typical, but is hardly average. His name will forever be linked to the band Led Zeppelin, and he is among the premier guitar players of his era.

Coverdale and Page tied in together for a while in the 1990s. This is an amateur video from a performance in 1993 in Japan. Page is playing his "famous" two-neck, Gibson guitar for this piece, which is, "Take Me for a Little While." Too, bad the video is not better quality, but, alas, nothing is perfect.

David Coverdale & Jimmy Page
Take Me for a Little While
Osaka, Japan 1993


TheChicGeek said...

Hi Fram :D Thanks for introducing me to Richard Tucker! I do love opera myself...I think it is an acquired taste. Once you start listening to it often it becomes magical and you fall in least for me that is how it went with opera...LOL
I especially like the first pretty :D
I like the music things you have been doing over's fun :D
Hope you had a Fun Day Today!

Magdalena said...

A man must be very careful after putting in one post such a words as Florence, Italy, opera, Osaka, Japan, while he know I could read it and hear this music, especially when he is so handsome, as I can see here, and especially when he usually know, what he is talking about. Just remember I have worned you. Wonderful surprise, thank you Fram the Wolf! :-) Have a beautiful Sunday. Bye, bye.

Peggy said...

Gee, Fram - I would hate to think how much catch up time I would need to devote to reading your blogs if you had not decided to take a break over the summer! Tee Hee... I get lost in your blogs reading, listening and thinking and then responding... so when presented with 4 blogs to absorb - I am overwhelmed. Suffice to say that I look forward to your blogs and glad you are still finding time to do 2 or 3 a week, even if I have not the time to respond to each in my usual verbose fashion.

Thanks for the opera today - I had wondered but not doubted that you are about more than just rock and roll. I have only attended one Opera - Cosi Fan Tutti, which I enjoyed, (though distainful of the theme) but my date (who had the seasons tickets) fell asleep for the middle of the 3 hours. I decided I like Opera but agreed with my date - one or two hours is sufficient and one or two songs is all the better.

Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin - remind me of my teenage years. Thanks for bringing back memories of my youth and sharing this video with us!

Now on to your other posts for more tidbits for the ears!

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Kelly, I recall that you attended an opera in Los Angeles not too long ago, and anyone who, like you, is a season ticket holder must enjoy the opera immensely.

My step-father thought Richard Tucker to be the absolute best ever. He had seen him perform several times when he lived on Long Island, on Broadway as well as in operas. I wish I would have seen Tucker, too.

Thank you, for complementing my rambling music style.

Fram Actual said...

Well, I had not thought of Japan in this mix, but when I think of Florence and Italy, Magdalena is the first person who enters my mind.

We wolves are clever creatures, and enjoy the company of beautiful young ladies, so we will post whatever it takes to attract their attention so they will read our words, look at our photographs and listen to our music.

Thank you, for your visit and for your warning. Possibly, our paths will intersect at a May Festival sometime.

Fram Actual said...

Actually, you have attended one more opera than I have, Peggy. I would like to see an opera at some point, but basically I enjoy individual songs or scenes, and am not certain I would have the patience to sit though an entire performance. Maybe it is best to say I enjoy operatic voices singing a variety of music.

Some of my posts have required a considerable amount of time to put together, which is what I wanted to get away from, but this form is fast and simple. Pick out a song or two for a particular reason and write a couple of paragraphs to accompany them. A post is ready in no time at all. But, the lapses between them will vary more in weeks a head.

A Cuban In London said...

Was this Coverdale's way of repaying Jimmy for ripping off 'Black Dog' for his 'Still of the Night'? I always liked Coverdale and to me he is just above an average singer, although well below Ian Gillan, the Purple's 'official' lead singer. Good piece.

I love arias, not operas. Went to one opera once in Cuba with my wife and we both walked out after the first act. But I love arias, maybe because just like your step-father, my father use dto play them at home.

Many thanks for such a fantastic post. The music was good.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

You appear to be better versed in the exploits of Coverdale vs. Page than am I, CiL, but they seemed to work well together for the short time they collaborated.

I agree with you regarding Coverdale and Gillan, although I think Gillan might be heading downhill more quickly than is Coverdale in terms of the current state of their respective careers.

Yes, exactly, regarding the arias. I guess that is the way to put it. The moments are greater than the whole, for some of us, at least.

Something special ....