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October 23, 2004



Yes, beautiful,haunting music, and one very cold story. Our sympathies are with Liu, and the father, but hardly for the princess or the man who woos her.

There was a review in Sunday's NYT Book Review about a new translation of the first five books of the Bible. The reviewer remarked that the translator, in his opening commentary, doesn't gloss over the details of stories like Abraham about to slaughter his son Isaac, which we almost don't see.

I mention that because sometimes stories in Genesis and definitely stories in operas have to be secondary to the music of the story.

BTW, I have a hard time with both Rigoletto and Il Travatore, too, when I am looking closely at the story.

Chan S.

It's funny how undeserved happiness in the story arc bothers me so much more than a tragic fate befalling sympathetic characters. Liu was the character I liked the best (of course), and I should have also mentioned in the post that Timur was wonderfully sung and acted by Robert Charles Austin. There's an interesting bit from the program notes, which says that at the opera's premiere at LaScala, Toscanini ended the opera with the funeral procession for Liu, that being the last of Puccini's music. For me, I think that would have ended things on a high note (er, so to speak), especially with Timur's most poignant line: "I will follow to rest beside you in the night which knows no dawn!".

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