At The Opera
Sly, by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
This week, the Metropolitan broadoacasts and opera called Sly.
No, it's not the life story of Sylvester ("Sly") Stallone. Actually, it's
an intriguing work, written in the 1920's, by Ermannoo Wolf-Ferrari.
As you might guess from his name, the composer was of combined German-Italian
heritage -- to be specific, he had a Bavarian father and a Venetian mother.
And his name isn't the only place where this dual background is apparent.
His music reflects it, aw well. He was born in Italy and his operas are
in Italian. Yet, he was more popular among German-speaking opera fans than
Italians. This led to a sort of schizophrenic career that was complicated
by the composer's difficulty in dealing with the tensions of World War I,
in which the countries of his ancestry were on different sides.
Perhaps all of this contributed to the unexpectedly disturbing nature of Sly, which is experiencing a bit of a revival. The opera's subtitle is, Legend of the Awakened Sleeper.
The title character is one Christoper Sly, who is kidnapped and deceived,
for purposes of a cruel hoax, and then slits his wrists when confronted by
For more, check out the links below. And stop by next week. We'll have a program on Alban Berg's Lulu, the final presentation on the Met's broadcast season.
More on Wolf-Ferrari
The Metropolitan Opera
Synopsis of the opera