One of the world’s most awesome opera professor and musicologist, Philip Gossett, touched down in Milan for a nanosecond to celebrate the Italian translation of his 2006 award winning book, "Divas & Scholars", our go-to reference for everything on Italian opera. And let's face it: What's cooler than a book about Italian opera being translated into Italian? (Alex Ross did it, too, with "Il resto è rumore", although his had noticeably less Donizetti, Puccini, Verdi & Rossini.) The Dive & Maestri launch was organized by Italian publishing house, il Saggiatore, at Auditorium G. Verdi di Milano (photo above) with handfuls of Gossett groupies on hand, young and old.
Gossett was joined by author Franca Cella (who told us how Gossett became ~The Gossett~ that we know & love) and Armando Torno of Corriere della Sera (who read excerpts from the book). Discussed was the importance of critical editions of opera manuscripts, enjoyed by musicians, critics, singer, audiences and conductors. Gossett also insisted that it's in bad faith to hold recordings up as infallible sources, and it's fundamentally flawed to judge singers by who or who didn't reach that high B-flat or C -- because recordings are pastiches set forth by the recording industry, laden with heavy cuts and edits and are nowhere near what the composer intended or actualized with the score. Melba's Lucia, anyone?
We're so digging Dive & Maestri's cover image: a shot from (Opera Chic favorite) Graham Vick's minimalist Verdi's Macbeth for Teatro alla Scala from the late 1990s, originally conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti. The Italian conductor even used Vick's iconic production to backhandedly smack Zeffirelli in 2006 for his new Aida that opened Scala's 2006/07 season (with the famous Alagna walk-off). He even spoke to La Stampa about it, which OC translated here: "He [Muti] waxes nostalgic about the simple staging of operas. He [Muti] fondly remembers his own Macbeth, directed by Graham Vick, “'where we just had one large cube on the stage, and nothing else.'”