Eternal Love: The Opera – Chicago Reader

Composer and tenor Steve Wallace says the first time he heard Nas’ song “Undying Love,” the last track on the rapper’s 1999 album I . . ., “I immediately saw it as a single act with chamber orchestra, but I stowed it away for later.”

It wasn’t until 2014, when Wallace was rehearsing for the role of Turiddu in verismo Mascagni’s opera. Cavalleria RusticanaHe sat down and wrote the one chapter he was imagining.

Nas’s story “Eternal Love” is the rhymed and tightly wound tale of a man who returns from a weekend in Vegas with a surprise engagement ring to find that he intends in their bed with another man. He has a gun and soon they are all dead.

Cavalleria Rusticana, And Pagliacci, the operas with which she is often paired in performance, are both stories of love being betrayed, and ending in death. The plots of these domestic crimes of passion were part of a shift in the late nineteenth century in which Italian opera shifted from tales of gods and kings to dramas about ordinary people.

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