Since our new blog launched yesterday, there have been a few questions about the name Parlando, what it means, and why we selected it for the blog.
Astute readers may have noticed its similarity to the French verb parler, meaning to speak. The meaning here is not so different—parlando is a form of the Italian verb parlare, also meaning to speak or to talk. It literally translates to "speaking." Since you might describe blogging as a means of speaking via computer, this alone would make it an appropriate title.
In addition, the word has a special meaning in opera. Parlando refers to a mode of singing that is meant to evoke or approximate normal speech, whether in pitch, inflection, or rhythm. The most familiar example is in a comedic patter song, where the singer's delivery shifts closer to speaking so that the audience can pick up every word. One might also use the term to describe Rex Harrison's famed half-singing delivery in My Fair Lady. Parlando isn't just for comedy, however. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some opera composers rejected the highly stylized operatic conventions of the past in favour of realism or verismo. Parlando singing was an important aspect of the verismo style, and operas like Tosca abound in parlando passages.
I hope that this blog, in speaking about the opera world, will be true to the spirit of its name. When in doubt, imagine that I'm singing all these entries.
Posted by Cecily Carver / in About / comments (2) / permalink
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001