Double bassist and classical music blogger John Grillo put out a recent post on his blog highlighting his upcoming performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto with Opera New Jersey. John writes:
I look forward to playing Rigoletto again. This is my second time tackling this mighty work. It is really an outstanding piece of art with many heavenly moments. The word we hear over and over again is maledizione. Maledizione in Italian means curse, doom or malediction. While living in Italy for a summer playing at the Spoleto Festival, I came across an interesting story. There is a 13th century aqueduct in Spoleto that spans the valley imbetween two beautiful hills. It is a breathtaking site. One of the best foods I have ever tasted there was wild boar-cingale. These cingale live underneath this ancient aqueduct. It just so happens that the people of Spoleto have believed for centuries that this area under the aqueduct was cursed.
John and I also created a follow up to the extremely popular orchestral excerpts breakdown that we put together in the fall of 2007. On this previous episode, John discusses and plays excerpts from much of the major orchestral repertoire, including pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss, and Schubert. You can check out this episode over on the Contrabass Conversations site.
On our opera excerpts breakdown, we take a look at excerpts from operas by Strauss, Wagner, Britten, Verdi, Weber, Mozart, Humperdinck, and Beethoven. Our hope is that this special episode, combined with our previous orchestral excerpt feature, will help young bassists worldwide to gain familiarity with the core orchestral and operatic double bass repertoire.
For more multimedia pedagogical resources for the double bass, check out our Contrabass Conversations series of virtual lessons from bass teachers Hans Sturm (Ball State, ISB president) and Andy Anderson (Lyric Opera, Chicago College of Performing Arts).