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Verdi Opera Score Found in Berlin Basement;
Fiddler favors Zyg over Strad
It’s “This Week in Classical Music”, An Update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.
The mostly complete score of a Verdi opera that experts had long ago given up hope of finding was recently discovered in a basement in Berlin.
Verdi set the opera, “The Power of Fate” to a German-language libretto by Bläuel Wittling, a poet who ran a women-only writers commune on the banks of the Spree river north of Berlin.
Verdi wanted to create a new kind of opera in an epic heroic style after being blown away by Wagner’s opera “LohenGrin” in 1871 at the opera’s Italian Primiere. The story in “Fate” has a lot of similarities with Wagner’s Ring, but also includes a lot of original material. Verdi apparently intended to write an overture for this opera, but never got around to it.
Violinist Chad Hoopes, who used to play a Strad, now plays a Zyg. Hoopes went from playing a Strad made in 1713 to playing a Zyg made in 1991.
Strads were made in Italy more than 300 years ago by Antonio Stradivari. Almost ever since, aficionados have tried to figure out what made them so special-- Was it the wood? Or maybe the varnish, which changes the way the wood vibrates?
Zygs are made in Samuel Zygmuntowicz’s studio in Brooklyn. He has made violins for Joshua Bell, Maxim Vengerov and Leila Josefowicz-- and a cello for Yo-Yo Ma.
Mr. Hoopes’s Zyg is a copy of a Guarneri del Gesù that was made for Isaac Stern, who owned the original instrument
If Strads “were considered the Rolls-Royce of the trade,” writer John Marchese wrote, “those by Guarneri del Gesù were … Jaguars —… erratically made, but powerful and distinctive.”
“There were so many things I liked in this violin in the first few minutes,” Hoopes said. “With some Strads, it takes years. Hoopes says he now believes one violin is not necessarily better than another — they are just different.
Hoopes will play his Zyg in three concerts at Lincoln Center in the next two weeks — including on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers “Sunday Morning Coffee Concerts” series.
For more on these and other items and events, go to the website, K-B-A-C-H dot org; Be listening each week at this time for another update. Follow us on Facebook and twitter, and also listen every weekday at Noon for the Most Wanted Hour with Linda Cassidy, playing your top 100 classical hits. I’m Randy Kinkel for KBACH’s “This Week in Classical Music”; Member supported 89.5 KBAQ Phoenix and HD, a service of Rio Salado College and Arizona State University.