In Act II of Verdi's La Forza del destino, Leonora (Jennifer Maines) meets the kindly Padre Guardiano (Marek M. Gasztecki), at Innsbruck's Landestheater, September 2013.
Another ghost-of-a-post idea, and one that may require some eventual fleshing-out. It was born of conjoined images from two different operas that suddenly started playing together in my head. And the "ghost" theme is actually appropriate, since it happens that both of the operatic heroines of our post title is that both have been seeing, er, fantastmi, as our Heroine No. 1, Verdi's Donna Leonora di Vargas from La Forza del destino, puts it.
HEROINE NO. !: VERDI'S LEONORA DI VARGAS
(LA FORZA DEL DESTINO)
We've actually heard this before, at some length. in the May 2011 post "Verdi's Forza demonstrates from start to finish what only opera can do." Donna Leonora, held responsible for the death of her father, the Marquis of Calatrava, the night she attempted to elope with her beloved Don Alvaro, has fled her home in Seville, eventually winding up at the mountain monastery of Hornachuelos, where she throws herself at the mercy of its superior, the kindly Padre Guardiano. When he finds out who she is, he recoils at first, then shows her the first human kindness she has received since her father's death, and what we hear from her in this release of pent-up tension rather terrifies me.
VERDI: La Forza del destino, Act II, Scene 2: Leonora, "Più tranquillo l'alma sento" ("I feel my soul more tranquil")
LEONORA: I feel my soul more tranquil
since I tread this ground.
The fearful phantasms
I no longer feel making war against me.
No longer does my father's shade
rise bleeding before me,
nor do I hear him, terrible,
cursing his daughter.
Maria Caniglia (s), Donna Leonora di Vargas; EIAR Turin Symphony Orchestra, Gino Marinuzzi, cond. Fonit Cetra, broadcast performance, 1941
Renata Tebaldi (s), Donna Leonora di Vargas; Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia (Rome), Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, cond. Decca, recorded summer 1955
Leontyne Price (s), Donna Leonora di Vargas; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli, cond. Live performance, March 9, 1968