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Castaway - Chapters 19-20

September 30, 2015
Posted at 1:13 pm

Two chapters today. The story is now fully in motion, the operatic side of it, anyway. There's still a lot more to develop with Asmedogh, though.
The first-act Tosca-Scarpia duet usually isn't played the way I describe it, mostly it's done fairly straightforwardly. What can I say, most lead opera singers aren't marvellous actors, as well. But the way I describe it fits perfectly with the characters as delineated in the opera, and it really ought to be played like that. In my novel Camilla is supposed to be a highly knowledgeable and intelligent singer, and she'd naturally approach it from that perspective. And Nick, remember, has spent years as a comprimario, where stage characterization is more important than vocal prowess, so he ought to be up to responding.
If you want to hear this duet sung more or less as I describe, with full characterization from both singers, I recommend the old recording with Maria Callas, baritone Tito Gobbi and tenor Giuseppe di Stefano, conducted by Victor de Sabata-which many (including me) regard as the finest opera recording ever made, rivaling the imaginary production that I'm concocting in my novel. A video is also available of Callas and Gobbi doing Act II (all by itself) with another tenor (Renato Cioni), one of the few videos available of Callas in performance, but unfortunately dating from a time when her voice was in steep decline.