OPERA LINKS Jan 25, 2014
Saturdee Opry Links: Today's Theme: Pavarotti Smackdown! Luciano Vs. Past
Greats. YOU. . .be the judge. In this corner. . .
1. “Questa o Quella” (“This girl or that girl”) from “Rigoletto,” by Verdi.
“Questa o quella” is sung by the Duke in the first act of Verdi’s "Rigoletto,"
when the Duke announces his intentions of courting Countess Ceprano. Despite
being told about and warned of Countess Ceprano’s jealous husband, Rigoletto
is unfazed and determined to win her over.
Pavarotti admiring Schipa:
2. “Mattinata” (Neopolitan Song) (“The dawn, dressed in white. . .”) "Mattinata"
was the first song ever written expressly for the Gramophone Company (the
present day HMV). Composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo in 1904, this song was
dedicated to Enrico Caruso, who was the first to record it in 1904 with the
composer at the piano. Ever since, this piece has become a concert favourite.
3. “Non Ti Scordar Di Me” (Neopolitan Song) (“Don’t Forget Me”), beloved
song by Ernesto de Curtis (who also wrote "Torna a Surriento.")
About Tagliavini: Tagliavini was hailed as the heir apparent to Tito Schipa
and Beniamino Gigli in the lyric-opera repertory due to the exceptional
beauty of his voice, but he did not sustain his great early promise across
the full span of his career.
4. “O Paradiso” from “L’Africaine,” by Meyerbeer. Vasco de Gama is
captured by priests, who intend to sacrifice him. He is amazed by the
wonders of the island he has discovered, and sings the most famous aria of
the opera O Paradis! (O Paradise!).
Joseph Schmidt, the “Pocket Caruso.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Schmidt When the war broke out that
year he was caught in France by the German invasion. He attempted to escape
to Cuba but, unfortunately, this failed. After making a dash for the Swiss
border, he was interned in a Swiss refugee camp in Girenbad near Zürich in
October 1942. He had already been in frail health, and was treated for a
throat infection at the local hospital. Schmidt had complained of chest
pains, but for some reason this was dismissed and he was discharged on 14
November 1942. Just two days later, on November 16, 1942, while attempting
to recover at the nearby Waldegg inn, the famous singer collapsed. The
hostess let him rest on her couch, but not long after, she noticed that he
was no longer breathing. Schmidt had suffered a heart attack. He was only 38
5. “La Donne e Mobile,” from “Rigoletto,” by Verdi (“Women are Fickle.”) The
Duke, disguised as a soldier, sings that all women are fickle and that they
will betray anyone who falls in love with them. (Well, not all.)
Mario del Monaco
About the aria, translation:
About del Monaco, “the man who could not sing softly.”
6. “Tu che a dio spiegasti l'ali” from “Lucia di Lammermoor,” by Donizetti.
Setting: The Ravenswood cemetary. After learning that Lucia has died,
Edgardo, lord and master of Ravenswood, is grief-stricken and sings to Lucia
that he will soon be with her in heaven. Soon afterwards, he stabs himself
and dies beside her body.
“You who have spread your wings to God.”
Essentially a lyric tenor with spinto capabilities, Bergonzi was greatly
admired during the peak of his career for his beautiful diction, smooth
legato, warm timbre and elegant phrasing.
7, “Granada." Mi cantar hecho de fantasia. . .Written in 1932 by
About poor Wunderlich, who died just before his 36th birthday after falling
8. “Recondita Armonia,” from “Tosca,” by Puccini. Cavaradossi is painting a
Madonna for the church and he has based the painting on a woman who prays
often at the church. He sings of the differences between his picture of a
fair Madonna and the darker beauty of his love, Tosca.
9. “Vesti la Giubba,” ("Put on the costume") from “Pagliacci,” by Leoncavallo.
Possibly the most famous aria in opera, it is sung at the conclusion of the
first act, when Canio discovers his wife's infidelity, but must nevertheless
prepare for his performance as Pagliaccio the clown because "the show must
About the aria:
10. “Nessun Dorma,” (None shall sleep") from “Turandot,” by Puccini, is an
aria from the final act of "Turandot." It is sung by Calaf, il
principe ignoto (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with
the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. However, any man who wishes to wed
Turandot must first answer her three riddles; if he fails, he will be
beheaded. In the aria, Calaf expresses his triumphant assurance that he will
win the princess. Calaf offers her another chance by challenging her to
guess his name by dawn. If she does so, she can execute him; but if she does
not, she must marry him. The princess then decrees that none of her subjects
shall sleep that night until his name is discovered. If they fail, all will
be killed. As the final act opens, it is now night. Calaf is alone in the
moonlit palace gardens. In the distance, he hears Turandot's heralds
proclaiming her command. His aria begins with an echo of their cry and a
reflection on Princess Turandot.
About Lanza, who died at 38 in 1959:
"Di Quella Pira" ("The flames of that pyre") from Verdi's "Il Trovatore."
Setting: A room adjoining the chapel at Castellor, 1409.
Synopsis: Manrico has discovered that his mother Azucena has been captured
by the Count of Luna and is about to be burned at the stake. Furious,
Manrico calls together his soldiers and sings valiantly of how they will
save Azucena from death.
Pavarotti (aria begins at 5:20)
About Corelli, “Prince of Tenors:”