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Read what other fans think about Passion and the characters!
These comments are part of a discussion led on the Michael Ball Fan Club Forum and I published it here with kind permission of the authors, as I thought it could be of interest for many fans. If I accidently published your comment without permission or you would like to change a bit, please mail me! Also mail me , if you would like to add your thoughts!

Kathey

I can understand why Giorgio loved Fosca. I think he realized the difference between love and lust. True love is a joining of souls, not bodies. He saw something in Fosca that was deeper than a mere physical relationship. "Passion" is such a layered musical, I could go on forever!

Debbie Norris

I think Fosca recognises a like-minded soul in Giorgio as soon as she sets eyes on him - it's not just his looks for her. He provides her with books, and gives generously, not even knowing who she is before he offers. She tells him "They hear drums, we hear music". And early in the musical, "How quickly pity leads  to love" - referring to Giorgio and Clara's relationship, but eventually leads Giorgio to love Fosca. Though he does admit to the doctor that he doesn't love her like she loves him.

Kerstin Wohlgemuth

I have to say I am very thankful that Michael did this musical. Without him I would never have the nerve, the energy or whatever you would call it to listen to the whole musical. Yes without him I would not care the slightest way! But he was in it and therefore I listened to the music. I have to say at first I was not so enthusiastic about the whole show. I listened to it, as I got a tape copy from a friend and I listened once and that was it for quite a while. AFter I had almost each of his CDs I thought well, there is just the Passion CD missing and to have everything complete I bought it! I listened again to it and then it had already grown in me! I listened to it some more times and each time I listened to it I liked it more and more and each time I discovered something new! And there are not many musicals where I can say that!!

Passion, Les Mis and AOL are all quite unique and i love each in a special way. It would be very hard for me to say that is my favourite, as I love all of them, but i. e. Passion and Les Mis are very different in a way.

Concerning Giorgio change in his attitude towards Clara and Fosca I already had very long and great discussions with friends. I do not want to go into detail too much, as I dont want to bore you, but somehow I started to think that Giorgio felt rather early, that he feels something for Fosca, maybe love. Not the love caused by beauty, but just as Kat and Debbie said by their common soul. They love books and as she also said he is not the typical army officer. I think she discovered quite early that this is certainly not what he wants to be. Well I think he felt an affection for her quite early, but obviously he is afraid of his feelings. How can he feel something for such an ugly woman, when he can have such a beautiful woman like Clara.

Besides I think he always knew that he does not love Clara! She once asked him, when they separated she always wondered, if he would have loved her also that much, if she were free. He does not reply and I think the answer would be: No! It was easy for him, he always knew that she would never leave her husband and so he could have his "fun" without hurting anybody and he would not have any responsibility or had to fear she wanted more. I think he needed to meet Fosca to discover for himself that there should be more in such a relationship than just sex. This is really hard to explain at the moment.

As I already said he "loved" Fosca from maybe not the first moment, but very soon, but he was certainly disgusted by her outward appearance and could not understand his own feelings and he wanted to fight his feelings. I think it took quite a time until he knew for himself that he really loves her! This certainly happened during Loving you after that song he gets so caring and although he is ill himself he wrapps his blanket around her, cause she is freezing. I think then he finally knew, but he gave Clara a very last chance, when he asked her to leave her husband. ´She does not and well then he knows that he really loves Fosca and there is no need to hide it any longer.

I just always wonder, what would have happened, if Fosca would not have died? And I wonder how Giorgios life could have went on? I know there is no way in telling really, but somehow interesting to think about.

Trudy Bradburne

I always thought the moment when Giorgio had a change of mind came on the train when he was setting off to see Clara. Fosca sang "Loving You" to him and said "loving you is not a choice, it's who I am".

First of all Clara greets him, not by asking how he is (considering he is on sick leave) but what a high old time they can have together during the afternoons. I think he then tests Clara by asking her to go away with him and she backtracks by saying they'll be hard up etc. He then realises that Clara only loves him when it's convenient but Fosca loves him unconditionally.

He then goes to Fosca, not because he loves her in the same way as she does him but because he feels he owes her some consideration and respect for the love she has for him. I agree also with Katy, I think she has worn him down to a certain extent!

Both Maria and Michael were excellent in the show and Michael's portrayal of anger, rage, bewilderment and passion were first rate. When he came on at the end after the scene where he has a nervous breakdown, he looked physically worn out.

Rebecca

As Katy said, I recently found a copy of the "Passion" video, and bought it for the very reason that I felt I had missed so much in the recording by not being able to see the emotions of the characters. I wasn't really certain that I would like it, seeing as Michael wasn't in it (and once Michael plays a role, nothing lives up to it), but I did, and I'm glad of it.

I think being able to actually watch the interaction of the characters helps a great deal, particularly in "Passion," as there are so many different overlaps in scenes, etc. that it is confusing when just listening to it. And it also helps in understanding the developement of the characters and their individual feelings.

As far as Giorgio loving Fosca goes...I think she immediately recognized something similar and unique about him, and was trying desperately at first to make him see that, too. In the beginning, I think she really is trying to wear him down, to force him to see that what he has with Clara is not really love, but a silly misinterpretaion of it. Giorgio, I think, does come to see this, but doesn't want to believe it, doesn't want to admit that there is so much more to love than "passion" of the body.

Fosca comes to a point where she realizes that nothing she says or does can change Giorgio's feelings about her. As she says to him on the trian, "loving you is not a choice." She openly acknowledges in that one song that she would love him, has loved him, despite everything and that nothing he can say would change that. Although Giorgio has been on this "journey" of self-discovery and understanding for the entire play, it does seem to me, as Trudy says, that this is where it finally clicks and where he leaves his old self behind - a coming of age, more or less. And then he does test Clara, and that only serves to confirm everything that Fosca has said: "Tell me, would Clara die for you?"

Kat

Ditto on what Kerstin wrote. Almost everytime I listen to it, I hear something new that I haven't noticed before. One of the things that I realized was how selfish Clara was. When Giorgio asked her to leave her husband, she said that she could't because of her son. I think that may have been true, but I think she was also using it as an excuse, not a reason. It wasn't mentioned in the storyline, but I think she probably didn't want to leave the security of her life with her husband. That would tie into her social life, where she was probably quite popular and well liked. It can also tie into the subject of wealth; her husband was probably a wealthy important man, and Clara valued status more than anything. Of course, this is pure speculation on my part. I also think that Giorgio probably was attracted to Fosca from the beginning, but he fought it because of her phsysical appearance and because of other people's perception of her. I think his feelings for her scared him because he thought he had love figured out. To him, love was just a happy feeling, but Fosca was bringing out something in him that he could not identify. It is hard to understand something when you can't label it. He had to re-define his definition of love. And I believe that Fosca and Giorgio would have been perfectly content if they had never spent that night together. Their love for each other was beyond the physical. I don't think his first thought of her was pity. I think it was almost a type of jealousy to be more like her in the way that she loved him. I think he was rather bewildered over her love for him. He couldn't understand it yet, but he was starting to feel the same for her and he tried to run from it.
I wish I could have seen it for myself. Maybe someday he will do it again?

Debbie Norris

I saw the Broadway production on TV earlier this year. What you don't get on the CD is the way Fosca tries to keep a hold of Giorgio, physically, when they're at table - she always has to sit next to him, and holds his hand furtively under the table so he can't pull away, and of course, he's too much a gentleman to let the others know what is happening.

I think he did have a genuine love for Clara and vice versa, but it couldn't run deep enough for her to leave the comfort of her home - and more importantly her son. Think of the comparison here with 'Anna Karenina'. Anna gives up her son to be with her lover, and her son is told she has died. Remember, we can't judge these relationships by today's standards!

There's also an added query when you consider Clara's concern about her fading looks. A woman is like a flower (wonderful repeated metaphor) and fades. Does their relationship end as her youth ends? I think Giorgio is too lovely for that to be the issue (not just because he's played by Michael  ) but it brings Clara and Fosca more in line - eventually, neither can be admired for their beauty.

I don't know how many times I've listened to this, but there's always more to discover.

In the meantime Alicia wondered, if you could say that Fosca also undergoes a kind od transformation. She has undergone so many hardships especially concerning love, that she seems to transform as well through the love of Giorgio

Debbie Norris

I think you're right Alicia, Fosca also undergoes a transformation. Her passion for Giorgio is initially cloying, but she would do anything for him, and only wants his happiness, even when his losing Clara could be to her advantage. Her first thought is of how he must be feeling. She once loved a beautiful man and was horribly duped by his looks. She has already learnt that looks can be false, having turned a blind eye to the Count's faults, to her great cost. Giorgio is handsome too, but Fosca sees more than that the second time around. She had become wretched and ugly inside, but being loved by Giorgio frees her spirit.

I think the whole musical questions what is beauty? Is it more than physical attraction? In the scene when he first visits her room she hides in the dark whilst admiring his looks, but Giorgio tells her "Your kindness makes you beautiful". He must be partly in love with her by this time, to be with her at all, and to write the letter.

Rebecca

Alicia, that's a very interesting point you made about Fosca. One really tends to focus so much on Giorgio's feelings, rather than Fosca's...but now that I think of it, you're right. Fosca, when she first meets Giorgio, has an extremely self-centered attitude, and a selfish view on love in general. Perhaps it was her past that brought her to feeling this way, having had a husband who used her for her money, all she wanted was to be loved for herself.

When she meets Giorgio, this feeling comes across very strongly, and I think Giorgio even admits that that's one of the reasons he refuses to love her the way she wants him to. About half way through the play, though, her references to her own personal suffering and her own personal desires really disappear. She tends to focus her attentions and questions on Giorgio's relationship with Clara instead of her own relationship with him. The total selflessness of love is what she discovers in the end, which, if you think about it, is the same thing that Giorgio learns, except in a different context.

And Debbie, the parallel between Anna Karenina and Clara was excellent - what a good way to look at it!! And yes, you're right - Clara's relationship and position can not be judged by today's standards. Kat said something to that effect, too.

Kat

I do agree Fosca's transformation was as dramatic as Georgio's....one thing that interests me about it is, while the epiphany she experiences is freeing, his is somehow the opposite. They almost change places; she, though briefly, is liberated from all her mental anguish and rises above herself. Georgio becomes broken down and imprisoned by his newly acquired "nervous condition". That's my interpretation just from hearing the soundtrack, anyway. Whatever exactly is the true definition of the relationship between Georgio and Fosca, it ultimately is her deliverance and his destruction!

Marylin

I agree, Kat, that ‘true love is a joining of souls, not bodies.' And I agree with Kersten, ‘he needed to meet Fosca to discover for himself that there should be more in such a relationship than just sex.” Yet, to prove he loves Fosca, they have sex! If their love has been on a higher plan, wouldn't their joining, in theory, diminish that love?

Maybe I am not satisfied with the love Giorgio does have for Fosca. It seems hollow. It's not complete, and therefore it is empty! I guess I'm a romantic and believe in total, true love. Giorgio admits that his love is not that kind. So to me, it's not love. For Fosca, loving him isn't a choice, but for Giorgio, he is making a choice. He seems to be loving her as a reward for her undying love for him. And maybe, he is using her to bolster his self image, to prove to himself that he isn't a total cad. He goes from frivolous sex with Clara, to benevolent sex with Fosca. I think he loved both women, but neither.

I agree with Katy that ‘...it ultimately is her deliverance and his destruction!” If he does love Fosca, why would it destroy him? What causes his breakdown? Could it be the realization that love, for him, is still no more than momentary passion? Still defined by the sex act?

I'll be interested in hearing theories as to why Giorgio has a breakdown.

Kat

I don't think he had sex with Fosca to prove that he loved her. If I recall correctly, he was that said "No - we can't." (how do you type "can't" with an English accent?) I think she knew that she was going to die and figured "Hey, might as well!" I mean, what did she have to lose? I think Giorgio did love her, but he didn't understand why she loved him. For instance, I understand why I love someone - I love them for who they are. But it is often difficult to understand why that same person loves me, because I don't understand what they see in me that causes them to love me.
I think Giorgio's breakdown was caused by phsyical and mental weariness. If I was suddenly separated from someone that I loved so much and loved me, I think I would breakdown,too! In fact, I know I would - I have. I think that Giorgio was almost fortunate, in a way. He was separated from Fosca by death - the final parting. If he had been separated from her because of other things (like money, status), then he would have lived in torment. Being forced apart from The One that you love so much by circumstances of life is like having your heart ripped out of your body. Giorgio loved her and knew that she was hurting and he wanted to help her in any way he could.
I completely understand his breakdown.And I know he went on with life. He probably couldn't think about her without feeling pain, but he did survive. He may have even found someone else later, but he never gave her all of his heart, because Fosca still had part of it.

Debbie Norris

I do think the relationship between Giorgio and Clara was completely genuine. It was unhappiness and pity which brought them together.

Loving Giorgio is redemptive for Clara, just as Fosca and Giorgio find redemption in loving each other. Clara says "I thought where there was love there was shame". Sex in the afternoon may sound frivolous, but she was trapped in a marriage she couldn't leave - what else could they do?

The physical consummation of Giorgio's relationship with Fosca, I think, was necessary. Physical attractiveness is unimportant. They already have a meeting of minds and souls. Perhaps their physical love should be seen as a sign that ugliness is really a state of mind, and that has been overcome for both of them. Fosca is supposed to be physically unattractive, and Giorgio says he showed her his "ugliness", but she loves him so much she would die for him - and she does! Is she sacrificing herself? And Giorgio takes up the challenge of the duel, risking his life, too - he refuses to let the doctor explain the situation. He would die for the sake of her honour. I would think this readiness to die, and all the emotion that goes with losing both Clara and Fosca are as much to blame for his breakdown as the injury he sustains in the fight.

The Doctor says Fosca cannot make love because of her physical condition. Now, you nurses amongst us could probably say more about this, but I don't think this is just what we would think of as a purely physical problem today. I don't know when the book was written, but the Victorians believed women were very fragile and prone to hysteria from puberty onwards (obviously not enough chocolate ).

I don't know how much this was still the thinking in the nineteenth-century, but in previous centuries people were believed to be controlled by humours, particularly melancholia, and I think this is the case for both Giorgio and Fosca. An excess of a particular humour (and I don't mean funny ha ha) would result in a lonely romantic temperament and was associated with an artistic nature, and all that went with it. Each kind of humour was believed to affect a particular part of the body, so illnesses were blamed on excess humour and the affected part would be bled to release the excess. Don't take this as read - I've not studied this in detail.

I love the flower/garden imagery throughout the musical. Clara and Giorgio meet in a park. At his new posting Giorgio says he hasn't seen a tree or a flower since his arrival. The area is barren except for the greenhouse where flowers are grown for funerals - they are kept indoors (a woman's place), in stifling conditions, only to be used as symbols of remembrance once they have bloomed - an echo of what will happen to Fosca. Does she forsee her own death when the hearse draws up? A woman is a flower - fragile, with beauty which quickly fades, and dies when it is picked. Clara's beauty will fade, and Fosca dies when she is 'picked'.

Fosca is a melancholic broken flower, prone to hysteria, and a night of passion with Giorgio is just too much for her! Well, what would it do for you?!!!

Have you read the Musicals Interview that Kerstin has translated on Balliosi? A German interview from three years ago - Michael was asked why he accepted the part in 'Passion'. He says that he didn't like the Broadway production because it was too gloomy "and a bit frightening". Michael had a new song to sing, explaining why Giorgio had fallen in love with Fosca. Perhaps all the furtive hand-grabbing at table wasn't so evident in the London production. Can somebody who saw it tell me?

I'll have to have a look at the Broadway video again. When I saw it before I was more interested in what was missing from Michael's CD, rather than what had been added since the film was made.

Trudy Bradburne

Yes, the furtive hand-grabbing was very evident in the London production as the dining table was on stage with the cast facing the audience. Michael and Maria were in the centre of the table and the audience could see under the table and see what was happening. At one point they made a joke of it because Fosca was clutching hold of Giorgio's left hand and she wouldn't let go even though they had been served their meal. Giorgio tried to retrieve his hand in order to cut up his food but Fosca wouldn't let go. He was too polite to say anything so valiantly tried to cut his food with just the knife in his right hand. The audience laughed and it was a nice light moment in the production

Kerstin Wohlgemuth

I thought about that quite I time I have to admit. At first it seemed to be so stupid, as he "won" the duel and there was certainly nothing that caused it obviously. I think his mental state that time was very poor. He left Clara as he discovered he loves Fosca. I am not sure how he thought life could go on. I mean he did not even have the chance to think about that really, as he soon got transferred back to headquarters.

At the Christmas party it is so sweet when he mets Fosca again. If I recall it right he says to her she would be looking very charming. I have to say he is very charming at that point of the musical. Then they tell him he got transferred and he is angry. I am sure he did not even think how life could go on, but he is angry as he did not even have the chance to think about it. He is angry on the doctor, as he was the one who organised this. Doctor Tambourri as well as all the others could not imagine, that such a handsome man could love such an ugly woman. He thought it would be a mental problem with Giorgio and that Fosca would not be good for him.

Afterwards Fosca breaks down showing everybody how much she loves Giorgio and all the others just seem to think he just wanted to profit from her. Finally the duel got arranged and in my opinion Giorgio thought about how life could develop. At first he only knew that he would lose Fosca either way. Either he would have to go back to the headquarters next day and he would certainly never see her again or he would be killed in the duel. Either way he would lose her and he wanted her to know. That was why he went to her room.

I do not know what happened the night, but I am quite sure he afterwards thought that he would die within the duel and he would not have had a problem with it. Then he was not killed, but he hurt his superior. Within the few seconds from the gunshot to his breakdown he realised in my opinion, that he lost everything. He lost Fosca, he lost maybe his career, he lost Clara. Everything was gone, his life as it had been so far was over. I am sure he wanted to die, he would not have had any problems any longer. But: he did not die! He had to find a way to go on with life and he did not have an idea how to cope with it. It is just as if everything broke down within this second. At least it was this second that he realised it!!

 

 

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