by Philip Josť Farmer
Dear Sam: I'm pleased that someone noticed that, though Eddie Fetts was a baritone, he sang Che Gelida Manina, a TENOR aria. Mr. Davidson was quite right in pointing that out and in being mad. However, Sam, your face needn't be red nor need Mr. Davidson stay mad. "Naught exists save mutability," and everything, even physics, biology, the pattern of the stars, and the course of the Mississippi, change. Marion Zimmer Bradley wrote me a letter pointing out the same thing that Mr. Davidson did. But she wanted to know if I was being very, very subtle, after all. During the past two hundred years, some operatic parts have changed. Rosina in the Barber of Seville, originally written for mezzo-soprano, is now usually sung by a coloratura. I knew that, but I did not know, as she pointed out, that Adalgisa, in Norma by Bellini, once a famous light soprano part, is now invariably given to a contralto. Did I mean to imply that Rodolfo's tenor role was now assigned to a baritone?
Music, as much as anything, if not more, will play a part in the future, and therein lies a brand new field of development for sf writers. I only used it in MOTHER as a device for portraying the change in a character and for hinting at certain psychological sublimations. But I could not resist also hinting that even such a stable and conservative thing as 19th century Italian opera was subject to flow and flux. Unfortunately, I could not stop to explain, and I did not think that it would matter. As you say, there was always the fact that singers play around.
Mr. Davidson wants the TWS containing LET THE FINDER BEWARE. If my memory is correct, that came out in an expanded version as JACK OF EAGLES by James Blish. If Mr. Davidson doesn't want to buy the book and still prefers to get the magazine version. I'll send him my copy. I'm moving soon. I have to get rid of some excess. I'll be glad to do so as one opera lover to another. -621 Barker, Peoria, Ill