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Porumbescu- Verdi

Monday, 15 June 2009 , ora 11.54
'Hello! How are you?'
'Just Awful! It's so hot that I'm melting down. And you? Where to?'
'I'm going to turn in my bachelor degree thesis.'
'Oh, good for you. Good luck! Bye.'

We are having this kind of trivial, unimportant chat every day. But what happens when two creators, two artists meet? What do they share in their discussions? For instance, what did Ciprian Porumbescu - the Romanian musician - and the great Giuseppe Verdi talk about when they met in Geneva in 1882?

To this question, the writer Constantin Venerus Popa offered a beautiful and plausible answer through the radio play Ballad in Geneva. This radio play constitutes an excuse to find out interesting information about the lives of the two composers -especially about Verdi's life -since the play is very well researched. The play represents a reason to bring back the atmosphere of the late 19th century and to ascertain that those times were not too different from our age, since both Verdi and Ciprian Porumbescu discussed censorship, criticism, injustice and prejudice, as well as their artistic principles and musical projects. I rediscovered here many fragments from Verdi's operas: La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Othello, and of course, musical moments belonging to Porumbescu, the famous 'Ballad' played by Alexandru Tomescu on a Stradivarius.

I listened to the Ballad in Geneva which benefits from an excellent cast. The voices of Constantin Codrescu, Irina Petrescu, Ionut Chivu or Monica Ghiuta could be heard on the 15th June 2009, on opening night at Hotel Majestic, where the Radio Romania theatre editorial office awaits its listeners every Monday.
Irina Cristina Vasilescu
Translated by Teodora Grigorita MA Student, MTTLC, Bucharest University