|Christopher Maltman (L) and Nathan Gunn (R) in Rape of Lucretia|
Rigoletto would never have been produced had Verdi not changed the prostitute-loving King Francis I of Victor Hugo’s Le roi s’amuse to the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. Rather than the Duke being killed, Verdi ends up killing Gilda.
La Forza del Destino, Luisa Miller and La Traviata were all famously altered after the censors weighed in.
|Michael Krzankowski in Seattle|
A new book on Benjamin Britten by Paul Kildea, a conductor and expert on the composer, has now revealed that his opera "The Rape of Lucretia" was altered by the censors. The most notable line was the changing of the following lines:
Male Chorus: “He takes her hand/And places it upon his unsheathed sword.”
Female Chorus: “Thus wounding her with an equal lust/A wound only his sword can heal”.These lines were changed to the far less poetic:
“Tarquinius – 'Poised like a dart’/Lucretia – 'At the heart of woman’/Male Chorus – 'Man climbs towards his God’/ Female Chorus: 'Then falls to his lonely hell’.”Amazingly, Britten's "Peter Grimes," which deals with the mysterious disappearance of young boys at the hands of a sailor, made it past the censors. However, the censors did make this comment:
You can read more at the the Telegraph. You can also check out our photo tribute to Rape of Lucretia, which has provided us with some of our favorite pictures over the years.“It is all very wafty and nebulous and I don’t pretend I can make sense of the plot from the verses, but there is no offence in them or in the production. Perhaps Benjamin Britten’s music will carry it through.”
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