Il ciel l’ho fatto nascere per far beato il cor


Memes always get a sympathetic ear here at Soho the Dog HQ, and here’s a beauty, via Wellsung (who is, I see, not on the blogroll—bad dog), Parterre Box, and Steve Smith: find out what the Metropolitan Opera was performing the day you were born.

Alas, I’m a summertime baby, so no Met performance for me. Hmmm… I wonder what they were doing the night I was conceived?

October 26, 1970

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
DON PASQUALE

Don Pasquale…………Fernando Corena
Norina………………Reri Grist
Ernesto……………..Alfredo Kraus
Dr. Malatesta………..Tom Krause
Notary………………Gabor Carelli
Servant……………..Judit Schichtanz
Servant……………..Frank D’Elia
Servant……………..Arthur Backgren

Conductor……………Carlo Franci

Maybe that’s a too-much-information situation. La Cieca’s solution for us Leos was to visit the Salzburger Festspiele:

Montag, 26. Juli 1971, 19.30 Uhr

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
L´ORFEO

Favola in musica in einem Prolog und fünf Akten
Libretto von Alessandro Striggio
Freie Neufassung von Erich Kraack

In italienischer Sprache

Neuinszenierung

Bernhard Conz, Dirigent

Sänger:
Giorgio Zancanaro, Orfeo
Maria Maddalena, Euridice
Gabriella Carturan, La Musica
Carol Smith, La Ninfa Messagiera
Anton Diakov, Caronte
Carol Smith, Proserpina
Anton Diakov, Plutone
Paul Esswood, Apollo

Not bad for a composer. But my birthday could have been marked by one of the craziest performances ever. July 26, 1971, was the scheduled date for a heavyweight boxing match between Muhammed Ali and basketball star Wilt Chamberlain, which would have been possibly the ring’s all-time-great novelty match-up. Chamberlain eventually backed out, allegedly over money, although perhaps his better judgment had started to kick in—Ali, even fresh off his punishing, marathon loss-by-decision to Joe Frazier, hadn’t even planned on training for the fight. “The Greatest vs. the Biggest” was not to be; instead, Ali spent my birthday defeating his old sparring partner Jimmy Ellis; he eventually won back the heavyweight crown from George Foreman (who had taken it from Frazier) in 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle.” Boxing and opera are close enough for me.

Update (2/7): My lovely wife checked her own guardian angel: a Leontyne Price Manon Lescaut. “YIPPEE!!!!” she writes. “I always knew my life would devolve into an existence of shallow indulgence and despair.”

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