Sunday, July 7, 2013

Out Spotlight

Today's was an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship. He wrote the classic Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors among about two dozen other operas intended to appeal to popular taste. He is a Pulitzer Prize winner twice over, and founded the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two World) in 1958 and it's American counterpart, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston SC in 1977. Today's Out Spotlight is Gian Carlo Monotti.

 Gian Carlo Menotti was July 7, 1911 into a wealthy family on the shores of Lake Lugano, Italy. He was the sixth of eight children of Alfonso and Ines Menotti, his father being a coffee merchant. Menotti began writing songs when he was seven years old, and at eleven wrote both the libretto and music for his first opera, The Death of Pierrot. He began his formal musical training at the Milan Conservatory in 1923.

Following her husband's death, Ines Menotti went to Colombia in a futile attempt to salvage the family's coffee business. She took Gian Carlo with her, and in 1928 she enrolled him at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, but she returned to Italy.

Armed with a letter of introduction from the wife of Arturo Toscanini, Gian Carlo studied composition at Curtis under Rosario Scalero. Fellow students at Curtis included Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber.

Barber became his lover and partner in life and in work; with Menotti crafting the libretto for Barber's most famous opera, Vanessa, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1958 at the age of 27.

As a student, Menotti spent much of his time with the Samuel Barber family in West Chester, Pennsylvania. After graduation, the two men bought a house together in Mount Kisco, New York, which they named "Capricorn" and shared for over forty years together before splitting.

It was at Curtis that Menotti wrote his first mature opera, Amelia Goes to the Ball (Amelia al Ballo), to his own Italian text. The Island God (which he suppressed, though its libretto was printed by the Metropolitan Opera and can be found in many libraries) and The Last Savage were the only other operas he wrote in Italian, the rest being in English. Like Wagner, he wrote the libretti of all his operas. His most successful works were composed in the 1940s and 1950s. He also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music.

He reached stardom that reached beyond the normal public for classical music because his two dozen operatic scores played not only in opera houses but on Broadway - commercially, night after night, like early precedents for Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Medium (1946), The Telephone (1947), The Consul (1950), The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954) – they poured out in rapid succession, full of big tunes, big drama, and big numbers that rewrote the grand Italian tradition as contemporary American torchsong.

His first full-length opera, The Consul, which premiered in 1950, won both the Pulitzer Prize for Music and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Musical Play of the Year (the latter in 1954). He intended to give a role to a then-unknown Maria Callas, but the producer would not have it. Menotti won a second Pulitzer Prize for his opera The Saint of Bleecker Street in 1955. With Goya, Menotti reverted to a traditional Giovane Scuola Italian style.

Above all there was Amahl and the Night Visitors, an endearingly sentimental Christmas piece about a little crippled boy who meets the Three Kings on their way to see the baby Jesus, is miraculously cured, and decides to join them at the manger. Written for American TV in 1951, it touched a national nerve and became part of the American cult of Christmas, re-broadcast year after year.

On the strength of all this he joined the glitterati. With the Kennedys at the White House, with Onassis on the yacht, with Sophia Loren here, Maria Callas there. But it wasn't just him in the social circle, it was them, he and Barber.

They are the only example know of two prominent composers doing so at the time. They threw well known parties in their upstate New York home with his & his music rooms at the far ends of the house so they could work without disturbing each other. And surprising for 1950s America, they were welcomed as a couple. In the grandest places.

The problem was came when, Barber’s star rose while Menotti’s fell. Barber appeared to be the conservative but significant author of enduring work while Menotti was sidelined as a purveyor of old-fashioned, decorative, sentimental froth. Eventually the relationship ended, although they remained close. Barber took to drinking, got ill and died. And heavy with remorse, Menotti felt obliged to leave America.

Where to go, he found the ancestral home of the Marquesses of Tweeddale: an 18th Century pile that the Tweeddales could no longer afford, not far from Edinburgh Scotland. He bought it and assumed the lifestyle of a Scottish laird – the locals called him Mr McNottie. And there he lived with his memories and a vicious, uncaged parrott for the last 30 years of his life, padding around the huge empty rooms and striking a sometimes sad figure.

But he wasn't alone. He gathered around him a devoted if unorthodox family, having adopted as his legal son a young actor, figure skater, Francis "Chip" Phelan, an whom he had known since the early 1960s. Phelan married a Rockefeller heiress and gave him two grandchildren.

And to the end, Menotti had another life – as the founder and iconic figurehead of the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Started in 1958 it was a venue for the chic and celebrated: Ezra Pound, Visconti, Rossellini, Henry Moore, Sophia Loren were just a few of the illustrious names who favoured it. In later years, beset by rows and money problems, it became less glamorous; but I remember Pavarotti, Domingo and RenĂ©e Fleming all turning up for Menotti’s 90th birthday concert (even though Pavarotti then left in a huff without singing). And in Spoleto, Menotti was revered like the Pope, living in a rented renaissance palace and waving to crowds from balconies.

In 1984 Menotti was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for achievement in the arts, and in 1991 he was chosen Musical America's "Musician of the Year". In addition to composing operas to his own texts, on his own chosen subject matter, Menotti directed most productions of his work.

Menotti died on February 1, 2007, at the age of 95 in a hospital in Monte Carlo, Monaco, where he had a home.

In June and July 2007 the Festival of Two Worlds, dedicated the 50th Anniversary of the Festival to his memory, organised by his beloved son Francis. Menotti works performed during the festival included Maria Golovin, Landscapes and Remembrances, Missa O Pulchritudo, and The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore.

Menotti was a one-man ancien regime: the last of a breed of composers who carried on writing operas and ballets in the old romantic tradition – heart on sleeve, emotional, and for all the world as though the age of Verdi and Puccini still existed.


mmmm said...

Oh how much fun was that watching Austin sucking dick tonight! I could tell he enjoyed that scene.

prairiegirl said...

What was kind of amusing was to see a tweet like this.

Cassia L Rainne ‏@CassiaL 1h

@AUS10NICHOLS @SHO_RayDonovan was pretty awesome lol but no more Choles for you
9:23 PM - 7 Jul 13 · Details

Well @CassiaL, let me tell you a story......LOL

April August said...

Hey guys go to Anne Burdick twitter @suckmy-burDick you can see miss miller and jake. I wonder what is wrong with her?

^pic said...

"anne burdick ‏@suckmy_burDICK

jake gyllenhal at chilmark store omg

jakes girlfriend saw me take the picture"

prairiegirl said...

I've got 3 things to say about this picture, lol. Ha, maybe 4.

1) Why did it take her almost 12 hours to post this picture from the time she tweeted that she saw them?

2) If she took this at the store, it must have been done from her phone. If you take the picture with your phone, you can tweet from your phone. Why do you wait until you get home to tweet the picture?

3) What kind of angle is that? That's all kinds of cockeyed and Alyssa is barely in the picture.

4) She calls the girl his girlfriend. How did she know she's his girlfriend? And if she knew this much, why not call her Alyssa Miller?

anne burdick ‏@suckmy_burDICK 4h

jakes girlfriend saw me take the picture
Give it up, Jake
7:09 PM - 7 Jul 13 · Details

And number 5? Just let it go, Jake and WME. For pete's sake, you're making it so stinkin' obvious that you're reacting to today's points about her arm & shoe, how you can't see her, etc.

Just hang it up. **eye roll**

No one told me I was going to need a hammock instead of a captain's chair. BWAHHHH!!!

prairiegirl said...

I think Jake & his mgmt need to take this little dog & pony show to Prime Time and the big boys, People. Seriously.

This twitter/Facebook nonsense with all the "Oh, I almost forgot!" 12 hour later business is just something else. Feels like Sam Malone's Cheers vs Gary's Tavern all over again, doesn't it? LOL

Let the big one take care of it, boys.

Methodical Muser said...

11:48 a.m

#6 And why did the tweeter not mention Jake's girlfriend in the first tweet from this morning? Instead, she only tweets that she saw Jake. Then, only after our discussion, some 8 hours later, does she suddenly let everyone know that she has a pic AND oh yeah Jake's girlfriend is there too.

prairiegirl said...

The last thing I'll say and I'll shut up about it because I need my beauty sleep, lol.

For someone who sits with his back to the walls of coffee shops and restaurants, who has turned down I don't know how many opportunities for pictures from fans on the streets because I have seen these encounters tweeted about, and he has been said to survey crowds in a room, he sure seems oblivious of fans taking photos in situations like this, doesn't he?

I myself witnessed Jake surveying the crowd numerous times from my theater seat during that New York Film Festival several years ago as if he was constantly looking for someone amongst the crowd when he really just came across as a person who was paranoid of who might be "out there".

As the male celeb part of a couple who hasn't even "officially" come out in the rags, are you going to tell me he was oblivious of civilians snapping pictures at the farmers market and now this little mercado in Martha's Vineyard? LOLL!! Give me a break.

Too stupid for words, I'm sorry. Nope, I don't buy it at all.

Like kismet is calling for, I'll gladly wait for this US spread most eagerly. Until then, I'm popping the tab on another can of Fresca.

April August said...

But do any of you guys wonder why she looks sad. Because she had to put her hand on his shoulder.

prairiegirl said...


How do I say this? This whole thing was staged.

It's fake.

How she looks is really irrelevant because the whole thing was f-a-k-e. They are acting.

compensation is in the mail said...

But do any of you guys wonder why she looks sad

Maybe she hasn't been paid yet.

prairiegirl said...


jakes girlfriend saw me take the picture"

So 'anne burdick' tweets first at 11:48 EST. Then come 11 more tweets during the day which are totally irrelevant. At 20:09 EST, she tweets again. However, this second tweet regarding the encounter doesn't use Jake's surname in the body of her tweet. She only says "jakes girlfriend".

So in other words, unless you went back to that tweet later tonight, you would never have found her tweet/picture because she does not use his last name.

That's a lot of time to pass in between Anne Burdick's tweets. And that's a real challenge to have found that tweet/pic with her not having used his last name within the tweet.

As someone who really searches and studies tweets, I have to say that it is all kinds of odd to have been able to found this particular tweet with a tag of only 'jakes'.

April August said...

I know what you mean. I found that tweet on another Jake blog.

PR said...

I think Jake’s bearding is not only for Prisoners and Disney, but for Austin’s gay role in Ray Donovan. The timing of the bearding starting when Ray Donovan was released is not just coincidence.

just saying said...

"But do any of you guys wonder why she looks sad."

she is not sad is angry with those who are stealing the photo

prairiegirl said...

She is not angry because there is no 'stealing' going on. It's called acting.

prairiegirl said...

So Special, Ahmahl sounds like The Little Drummer Boy?

I don't know why, Gian Carlo's story strikes me as kind of sad because it seems like he had so much success. And he and his partner Barber, sounds like they were pretty much out for the length of their relationship. To lose a relationship after such a long period of time with Barber being the one to develop the drinking problem even though he was the one whose star went on the rise......that is the sad part.

Very interesting story.

destiny said...

A fascinating and ultimately sad story in the Spotlight today. Like PG said, to start out in such an open relationship, and for so many decades, and then to let it slip away because of jealousy. It would make a good movie or mini series.

destiny said...

If Austin was really worried about his role in Ray Donovan then he could have easily taken a date to the premiere, but he didn't. Wonder why he didn't take one of those fans he's always flirting with on Twitter?

I think at this point in time the vast majority of people do not associate Austin with Jake, and I really can't see people having a discussion about whether Austin is gay because of his role in Donovan and then telling themselves nah, he can't be, Jake Gyllenhaal is dating a model.

SuckAPuck said...

Would aybody be kind enough to direct me to stories about Jake refusing to take pictures with fans? I'm really curious now.

I am really surprised about the choice of beard. She is so not his "type". It's so random. Wouldn't a cute, sensitive down-to-earth girl be more fit for the purpose? This is a Disney movie we are talking about. Emily D was much more believeable because she had a baby face, but Alyssa is in another league. Despite of Jake's PR games, I still want to see him do well. It is sad to see him live in constant fear and paranoia. I think he is very misguided at the moment. Somebody needs to tell his PR team to tell him to "split up" with the SI model when he is filming ITW overseas and pick a girl-next-door. Maybe even go for a non-celeb like Hugh Jackman did.

Anyway, another thing that bothers me about Jake is that we never see him come out of his apartment. A 5-second quick Google search will tell you where every other celeb lives (including Maggie), and he was happy to share his location when he rented a home in London with Reese. Howerver, his NYC apartment is non existant to the public, yet paps always seem to know when he is in the area! I think he has a deal with them so that they will not take pictures of him coming out of the marital home.

prairiegirl said...

Would aybody be kind enough to direct me to stories about Jake refusing to take pictures with fans? I'm really curious now.

I'll try and find some of my tweets in my huge Sent file, SuckaPuck, LOLLL!! Let me tell you, I keep trying to make a few folders but at least I might find some of them by just doing a Search. lol. My email is a huge mess. It's so full of stuff and your question just tells me that I really need to organize it.

I've sent the ladies plenty of tweets from people who were in a restaurant or during filming or I think on the street, they asked Jake for a photo and he said 'No, not today' I saw a comment from someone just the other day (I think it was on a FB post) that Jake 'frowned at me at a sandwich shop'. BWAH! That one killed me.

I've seen enough tweets of rude encounters not to discount them anymore and yes, we have plenty of wonderful pictures of him with his fans, taking photos, signing autographs.

I'm not denying that nor do I want to. When I first started following Jake, I was warmed by his interaction with the fans and even more than that, I was fascinated and pleased by his positive interaction with the paparazzi. That impressed me even more than with the fans because the paps can be pretty intrusive at times.

The thing is because of his secret life now, he seems to have totally changed with regards to his attitude towards the paps. He's also very secretive towards his fans and the whole hoodie drawn up get-up with ear buds constantly inserted, nose in a book, eyes buried in the phone, are all Caution-Do Not Enter's to people on the outside.

Anyway, enough of that. I'll see what I can find in my emails. Could take me a bit but I'm sure I can dig some up. Okay, email, watch out.

I'm goin' in !!!!

Cloud 9 said...

This was a beautiful Out Spotlight, Special.

destiny said...

Jake wouldn't get any publicity if he wasn't "dating" a celebrity of some sort. It's different when you marry a civilian, especially if it is someone like Jackman's wife who actively takes part in interviews about the relationship

Kismet said...

Huh. It's true, every other major celeb who lives in lower Manhattan has their townhouse or apartment building known, but Jake's home has been speculated to be everywhere from Union Square to the Bowery to the West Village. The best downtown hood for kids is probably Tribeca and I'm guessing that's where Jake has a loft. He's spotted in SoHo a lot so that would make sense. Am I wrong - is his neighborhood or building known and I've just missed it? I read Curbed every day and don't ever recall seeing anything about Jake and real estate.

April August said...

Is it not funny that today there are no tweets, no pictures and no Facebook mentions of Jake today. Yesterday there were all these sightings now today nothing.

Kismet said...

SuckaPuck - Jake doesn't have a 'type' though, right? That's one of the patterns that is so obvious about his dating history and calls into question the authenticity of it, IMO. He's literally all over the map - from indie Jenny Lewis to nauseating Reese to bubblegum Taylor to sultry Alyssa, with a few civilian stories thrown in for good measure (like the grad student! LOL!).

I think the young model thing is just a really safe way to have a short-term bearding situation, and the model gets such a huge publicity boost out of it that her demands are probably really low. If he was bearding with another A/B list actress there'd be way more involved in the way of negotiations, publicity, co-messaging, etc. I just don't think Jake has the stomach for that anymore. And having stalked my way through Alyssa's old instagrams this weekend (LOL), she strikes me as pretty down to earth and athletic so they're probably able to be friends. Friends make the best beards - just ask Austin and Sophia!

prairiegirl said...

Agree, Kismet. This is probably a short term gig and has alot to do with the upcoming release of Prisoners. Hugh Jackman has shown that he is 150% paranoid of being said to be gay.

I wonder though how much Jake and Alyssa would have in common. They're quite a bit apart in age and while as a guy, he's the older one, you would think that might balance things out. But just like with Taylor Swift, Jake is in a totally different private life situation than this girl.

I know many here don't believe this, but I am one who firmly believes he's got kids. Alot of them. And there's only so much you can talk about when 1/2 of the couple is constantly getting texts about cell phones flushed down the toilet, b'lanky or Teddy is lost, someone's got a bad rash or someone had a bad dream and needs to talk to Papa.

I have worked with parents of little ones for many years now and those kids are never far from the parents' minds or cell phone contact. It's constantly something. There's often drama just before they come in to work, lol. And with Jake & Austin's being under the age of 5???

I cannot imagine. That household is not just one big rooftop of laughter and activity, but is also one of crying, sibling squabbles, and tantrums.

I cannot wait til the day comes when they come out. I hope I'm still alive because I'm dying to hear what it has been like in their house.

I hope they will share because it has got to be one heckuva fascinating story.

But that's neither here nor there, is it? Totally a time far away out in space because these 2 are deeper in the closet than they have ever been. Coming out is so far out of the realm of reality, it's not funny. ha ha.

prairiegirl said...

Suck a puck, I'm going to have to ask for an extension of time, lol. This could take several days. BWAH!!

I have so many emails, it isn't funny. At least I've been able to start deleting some along the way but I'm going to have to do this a little at a time.

I've got to switch and get on my work laptop for awhile.

Jersey Tom said...

I don't think this is going to be a short term bearding. I truly believe this is a Disney deal and we all know how long reeke went on. reeke would have gone longer if Reese didn't want to get married. We will see how miserable this makes Jake.

AUS10 said...

#RayDonovan continues to grow, up 15% last night versus its record-breaking series premiere last week. ----- wow!!

prairiegirl said...
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