The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes
|Mancinelli: ERO E LEANDRO|
Luigi Mancinelli, principal conductor of the Metropolitan's Italian repertory for many seasons, was also a composer; his most widely-performed opera was Ero e Leandro, with a libretto by no less than Arrigo Boito, first performed in a concert version at England's Norwich Festival in 1896 and staged in Madrid the following year. The Met programmed Ero in two seasons, with two performances in each: 1898-99 (with Eames, Saléza, and Plançon) and 1902-03 (with Gadski, De Marchi, and Edouard De Reszke); Mancinelli himself conducted on both occasions.
Act II: Peána chorus excerpts:
(a) "[Il cantico dell'or]gie! Peána!" ... "Peána! Peána!"
(b) "Peána! O Venere! O Adone!" ...to end of act
Edouard De Reszke (bs), Ariofarne
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--
March 4 and/or 14 (matinee), 1903
[Undated slip with (a); the dates given were the only performances of the work in the Mapleson years. All three Ero cylinders were recorded at the same speed, and they probably stem from the same performance.]
Leandro (Leander), an athlete and poet, is in love with Ero (Hero), a priestess of Aphrodite. In the opera's second act, the archon Ariofarne, also in love with Ero, claims that he has been ordered by an oracle to reestablish an ancient service in a seaside town, and consecrates Ero to the duty of signalling the approach of storms, so that rituals may be undertaken to appease the angry waters. He then offers to release her from this if she will love him, but Ero refuses. Leandro, who threatens Ariofarne, is banished to Asia, on the opposite shore of the Hellespont, and Ero takes the solemn oath of service, swearing to remain virginally pure. At the end of the act, the moon is rising and Ariofarne signals the start of Aphrodisian orgies, represented by a fugal chorus that one critic in 1899 thought "the result, undoubtedly, of the composer's admiration for the splendid mastership shown in the score of Verdi's 'Falstaff." Only about twelve measures are missing between Mapleson's two cylinders from this chorus.
[La luna sorge,
rimbombi alfine il cantico dell'or]gie! ( The moon rises, its rays shine on the orgies, contrasting with the light of the lamps and torches. Ero, draped in a silver veil, stands at the altar during these revels. )
Peána! Peána! S'afferri la coppa
che il seno di Venere fremendo plasmò! ( These lines are developed in a four-part fugal exposition. Here, and throughout, subsidiary parts continually shout "Peána!" )
Peána! S'afferri la coppa!
Peána! che il seno di Venere fremendo plasmò! ecc. ( These lines are sung quickly, in unison. )
Gia l'orma che impresse l'olimpica poppa
d'aromi e di vivido liquor si colmò! ( These two lines are developed in a four-part fugal exposition. )
Beviam, tutto è cenere--Peána!
Beviam, delirio e canzone--Peána!
fuggevole e vana--Peána! ( These lines are introduced by the basses, then treated contrapuntally. )
Peána! Peána! ecc.
Peána! Peána! Peàna!
O Venere! O Adone! ecc.
Peána! Peána! ecc.
The moon is rising,
now at last shout forth the orgiastic anthem! ( The moon rises, its rays shine on the orgies, contrasting with the light of the lamps and torches. Ero, draped in a silver veil, stands at the altar during these revels. )
Praise! Praise! Now raise the goblet
that the breast of Venus tremblingly formed! ( These lines are developed in a four-part fugal exposition. Here, and throughout, subsidiary parts continually shout "Peána!" )
Praise! Now raise the goblet!
Praise! that the breast of Venus tremblingly formed! ( These lines are sung quickly, in unison. )
Already the bowl shaped by the Olympian nipple
is filled with aromas and vivid liquids! ( These two lines are developed in a four-part fugal exposition. )
Let us drink, all is ashes--Praise!
Let us drink, delirium and song--Praise!
fleeting and vain--Praise! ( These lines are introduced by the basses, then treated contrapuntally. )
Praise! Praise! etc.
Praise! Praise! Praise!
O Venus! O Adonis! etc.
Praise! Praise! etc.
Act III: Cade una stella excerpt: "[io lo scerno] già coll' acuità"..."Splendi, [splendi!...]"
Johanna Gadski (s), Ero
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli
March 4 or 14 (matinee), 1903
[Dating as above.]
In Act III, Ero is at her post in a tower, and she sees a vision of Leandro swimming to her across the Hellespont.
[Cade una stella!
E il mio Leandro che si getta in mare!
Ecco...io lo scerno] già coll' acuità
pupilla del pensier: al lido ei move.
O visïon! dalle amorose membra
con ambidue le man si tragge il manto
e al capo il si ravvolge e dalla sponda
si spinge in mezzo ai flutti. O quella stella
mi presagiva il ver. ( She looks at the water clock, takes the torch, and turns to the window. )
Consunta è l'ora.
Venga la face, ardo pur io con essa.
Splendi, splendi! erma facella,
come faro, come stella,
Splendi, splendi! e nelle amare
spume versi ambrosia il ciel,
e diventi dolci il mare
dove passa il mio fedel.
A star is falling!
'Tis my Leandro, who jumps into the sea!
There he is...I see him already with the sharp
inner eye of thought: to the shore he moves.
O vision! From amorous limbs
with both his hands he removes his mantle,
and wraps it round his head, and from the shore
throws himself amid the waves. Oh, that star
foretold me the truth. ( She looks at the water clock, takes the torch, and turns to the window. )
'Tis now the hour.
Come, torch, to light him; my soul, too, is burning.
Shine, shine! hermic lantern,
to the mysterious swimmer,
like a beacon, like a star,
over the ocean of love.
Shine, shine! while over the hateful
foam the heavens pour ambrosia
and the sea becomes calm
over which my faithful one passes.