Approaching the truth of the "mysterious opera"? How to enjoy Handel's "Silla" 120%
Go, see, and feel the world of art
File.24 Kanagawa Prefectural Music Hall "Scilla"
Miyuki Inoue (Magcal Editorial Department)
Handel's opera "Silla" is based on the late life of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a dictator who actually existed in ancient Rome. Although the script and sheet music are still intact, it is unclear whether it was performed in theaters at the time, and it is said that it is a work that is rarely performed even in modern Europe. From an amateur's point of view, I think, "Is that because it's bad?" (Excuse me!).
An opera with such a mystery will be performed at the Kanagawa Prefectural Music Hall. Prior to this, a lecture concert titled "Handel's Mysteries and the Opera <Silla> - Tales of Ancient Rome" was held. This is a chance to get closer to the world of opera, which I felt was a high threshold! I went out with a long-held dream in my heart.
The lecture started with "'Scilla' as seen from the script" by Kyoko Suwa, who works on the script translation at the Handel Society of Japan. First, listen to the synopsis and introduction of the characters.
Even so, the main character, Scilla, is a terrible guy. He does everything he can to power and sexual harassment, such as messing around with his friends' wives and lovers, and if they are cold, he will be demoted along with the couple. However, it seems that the theme is also the subject of Mozart's opera "Lucio Silla", so it is a typical "tyrant".
Mr. Suwa says, "The development is abrupt and ignores theory too much," but he seems to be attracted to the composition and unique scenes.
“Although there are some lacking in emotionality, it is rather interesting to see the idea of going beyond the framework of a sentimental opera. increase"
So that's it. I've come to think that it might be more interesting to have a "bad guy" in the story.
Next, Mr. Tadashi Mikajiri, a member of the Japan Handel Association and a Handel researcher, will present "Scilla in History and Politics."
First of all, I was surprised by the story that ``opera was a means of appealing to political assertions and the legitimacy of royal power in this era.'' However, if you compare the era when "Silla" was written with the actual chronology, and apply real people to the characters, it certainly fits perfectly.
The issue of succession to the British throne in the first half of the 18th century, and the War of Spanish Succession. As we unravel history, the world of opera begins to take on realistic colors. The idea that if a politician criticizes a critical storyline, one can avoid it by saying, "No, it's just a historical piece," which is similar to Japanese ukiyo-e and kabuki.
Despite the meticulous writing, there is no record of it ever being performed, and Mikajiri concludes that "there was no public performance." why?
That's because in the real world, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough (= Scilla) has been ousted and there's no longer any need to criticize his tyranny. In a sense, it may be that it has become outdated as a work.
It's a bit of a waste, but don't worry, much of the music was used in the later opera Amadigi. At that time, such “reuse” was not uncommon.
And finally, Masami Hara, music director of the Japan Handel Association, "The music and charm of Silla." Accompanied by a demonstration by Ms. Akiko Ito on the harpsichord, she will receive a lecture on the structure of an opera, the composition process, and the effects of sound.
Unfortunately, I didn't know much about the technicalities of music. However, what was interesting was that the expression of the music changed greatly depending on the tempo of the performance.
Many of the scores for "Silla" do not indicate the tempo, and Hara speculates from this that "it may not have been played after all." So how do you decide the tempo to actually play? There are various methods, such as thinking from the script or referring to songs that have been diverted to other operas, but as long as it is a guess, there is no single answer.
As an “experiment,” Hara proposed two tempos with different interpretations. Mariko Higuchi (soprano) and Ayumi Yokomachi (mezzo-soprano) let me listen to the songs.
Surprised to hear! Even though it's the same music, how can the nuances change so much just by changing the tempo? Music has a lot of depth...
I wonder if Fabio Biondi, the music director and conductor, will set the tempo for each song in the main performance of Scilla. It's a very interesting work, and I'm a little happy that it will be premiered in Japan.
* Handel (1685-1759)
Many of the operas in Handel's time were complicated and difficult to understand. In that respect, Scilla is extremely simple and compact. Still, it's full of beautiful and attractive music, so even beginners can enjoy it.
“Silla” was not performed at that time due to various “adult circumstances”. Experience Yokohama in 2020 after 300 years.
This event has been canceled. Details can be found here .
Handel's Scilla in three acts
[Performance date] Saturday, February 29, Sunday, March 1, 2020
[Start time] 14:00 (doors open 13:00) *Pre-talk from 13:15
[Venue] Kanagawa Prefectural Music Hall
[Music Director] Fabio Biondi (Conductor, Violin)
[Performance] Europa Galante
Scilla: Sonia Prina (Contralto)
Claudio: Hilary Summers (Contralto)
Meterra: Sunhae Im (soprano)
Repid: Vivica Junod (mezzo-soprano)
Flavia: Roberta Invernizzi (soprano)
Celia: Maria Hinojosa Montenegro (soprano)
God: Michael Bors (baritone)
[Director] Tadashi Miroku
[Costume] Friendship Mariko
[Lighting] Naoto Inaba (ASG)
[Script/subtitle translation] Asako Motoya
[Stage Director] Hiroshi Osawa (The Staff)
[Price] S seat ¥15,000, A seat ¥12,000 (very few seats left), B seat (SOLD OUT), Student (under 24) ¥8,000
[Inquiries] Kanagawa Prefectural Music Hall Tel.045-263-2567