Vanessa - "Must the winter come so soon?"

Barber Samuel | Tymms Ashlyn, Cottis Jessica

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3m 5s
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Must the winter come so soon? | Samuel Barber | Vanessa | TCO | Cottis, Tymms
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Barber (1910-1981) Must the winter come so soon Vanessa Samuel Barber is one of America's most celebrated composers. He is best known for his orchestral works especially his Adagio for Strings, adapted for string orchestra from the second movement of his Quartet, Op. 11, was made very popular through its use in the Oliver Stone film, Platoon. Also well-known is his overture to The School for Scandal. When he was twenty-five, he won the American Rome Prize (Prix de Rome), and for two years in a row, won the Pulitzer Prize. One of the prizes was for his opera, Vanessa, from which we hear an aria from the first act which was written at the request of the original singer of the role who noted that she didn‘t have an aria. Dutifully, Barber obliged. The libretto of Vanessa was written by Barber's long-time friend, Gian-Carlo Menotti who was well-known for his operas Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Telephone, The Saint of Bleeker Street, The Medium, and Amelia Goes to the Ball. Although Menotti and Barber had been friends since they were students together at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute, this was the first (and only) time they collaborated in the writing of an opera. Vanessa takes place in an unnamed northern country. It is winter. Vanessa, her mother the Baroness, and her niece, Erika, are awaiting the arrival of Anatol, who many years before, was Vanessa's lover. While Erika gives the servants instructions for the sumptuous dinner. Vanessa worries about the safety of Anatol, who is making his way through the blizzard. Although we are not told why, the Baroness has not spoken to her daughter during the twenty years since Anatol had left. Vanessa can hardly contain herself when her old lover finally appears at the door. She pours out her love and reminds him of how hard it was to retain her beauty all those years, but she had managed it for him. When he steps into the light, it is revealed that it is not the Anatol she was expecting, but the son, who has come to tell of the death of his father. Vanessa falls in love with the young Anatol. The following morning, Erika reveals to the Baroness that she had been seduced by Anatol. She is loyal to Vanessa, and even after a failed suicide attempt assures Vanessa that Anatol had nothing to do with that. Vanessa and Anatol marry, and go off to Paris, with Vanessa leaving the estate to Erika. Once the pair leave, Erika drapes all the pictures and mirrors, and settles down to await the arrival of her ideal lover. The Baroness has now become silent before Erika. The aria we hear this evening appears early in the opera, while Vanessa awaits the arrival of Anatol as she sings of the dreary winter with neither "dawn nor sunset" to mark the passing of the days. Tait Chamber Orchestra Jessica Cottis, conductor Ashlyn Tymms, mezzo-soprano Tait Winter Prom 2016 St John's Smith Square 30th November 2016 Sponsored by Commonwealth Bank of Australia