Sunday, December 6, 2009

Anne Sophie von Otter - Sieben frühe lieder, Nr. 3 Die Nachtigall

Anne Sophie von Otter - sings Sieben frühe lieder, Nr. 3 Die Nachtigall by Alan Berg:

The Swedish soprano Anne Sofie (or Sophie) von Otter’s father was a diplomate and she grew up in Bonn, London and Stockholm. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her main teachers were Vera Rosza, in Lied interpretation Erik Werba and Geoffrey Parsons.

Anne Sofie von Otter is married to a stage director and mother of two children. The family lives in Sweden. She is one of today’s most respected, innovative and sought-after soloists. This Alan Berg's song was, also, Vedrana Zerav's choice for her masters degree.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

LUCIA POPP: "Non Più Di Fiori" (Her Last Recording)

There's a story told on page 24 of Ursula Tamussino's book. September 1965 in Vienna, Lucia Popp "cracked" in one of the Queen of the Night arias and got depressed. Lucia was in such state of despair and on the point of giving up singing and going back to Bratislava, but was talked out of it by Fritz Wunderlich.

Imagine what favor that nature's wonder, Fritz Wunderlich, granted to the world, by saving Lucia Popp for her art. Listen to her, the very last recording of LUCIA POPP, "Non Più Di Fiori" and try to imagine opera's history without her. No way! Thank you Fritz!!

Lucia Popp's "Queen of the Night"

Queen of the Night, a role that made her famous and in which Lucia Popp was considered unsurpassed.


German Text

Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,
Tod und Verzweiflung flammet um mich her!
Fühlt nicht durch dich Sarastro
So bist du meine Tochter nimmermehr.
Verstossen sei auf ewig,
Verlassen sei auf ewig,
Zertrümmert sei'n auf ewig
Alle Bande der Natur
Wenn nicht durch dich!
Sarastro wird erblassen!
Hört, Rachegötter,
Hört der Mutter Schwur!

English Translation of "Der Hölle Rache"

The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
If Sarastro does not through you feel
The pain of death,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned may you be forever,
Abandoned may you be forever,
Destroyed be forever
All the bonds of nature,
If not through you
Sarastro becomes pale! (as death)
Hear, Gods of Revenge,
Hear a mother's oath!

More about LUCIA POPP (1939 - 1993)

Lucia Popp [originally: Lucia Poppová] debuted at 23 years old at the Bratislava Opera singing Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte. In 1963, Herbert von Karajan hired her to sing with the Vienna State Opera company. She soon became famous for singing the Queen of the Night, a role in which she was considered unsurpassed.

The esteemed Slovak-born Austrian soprano, Lucia Popp, after finishing school, studied medicine for two semesters. She began her career by training as an actress. Anna Hrusovska-Prosenkova, a voice teacher at the Academy, happened to hear her singing during a performance of Molière's
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and offered her voice lessons. Only then did she begin studying music and singing at the Conservatories of Brünn and Prague. She attended the Bratislava Music Academy for four years, completing course in general music and voice studies. She began her studies as a mezzo-soprano, but her voice quite suddenly developed a high upper register.

In January 1979 Lucia Popp received the title of Kammersängerin in Vienna, and in 1983 she received the title of Bayerische Kammersängerin from the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Lucia Popp was unquestionably at the height of her art when she passed away so prematurely in 1994 (of brain cancer).

It's well known that flashy, high, bright-timbered voices usually have trouble developing a warm tonal colour. But Lucia Popp was able to warm up her tone, which, with its sweet, meditative piano, English critic John Steane (in his book The Grand Tradition - Seventy Years of Singing on Record) compared to an oboe. Thus, from the Queen of the Night - probably the best exponent of the role on record (according to Steane) - Lucia Popp became a lyric singer with a dazzling technique, and further enriched the aural and colour possibilities of her voice by singing Lieder.

LUCIA POPP sings Song to the Moon by A. Dvorak

Watch and listen Lucia Popp singing Song to the Moon for the gala reopening of the Zurich Opera House 1984. More about great Lucia Popp in my other blog post, here.

In the beginning of the aria, Dvorak uses large arpeggiated chords to invite the audience into the fairy tale land of Rusalka. The good-natured old Spirit of the Lake, Jezibab, is enjoying the singing of the Wood Nymphs, when his daughter, Rusalka, approaches him sadly. She tells him that she has fallen in love with a handsome young prince and wishes to become human in order to know the bliss of union with him. Deeply saddened, the Spirit of the Lake consents to her request, and leaves. All alone, Rusalka sings this beautiful aria, confiding in the moon the secrets of her longing.

Silver moon upon the deep dark sky,
Through the vast night pierce your rays.
This sleeping world you wander by,
Smiling on men's homes and ways.

Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me,
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?

Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall hold him,
That between waking and sleeping he may
Think of the love that enfolds him,

May between waking and sleeping
Think of the love that enfolds him.
Light his path far away, light his path,
Tell him, oh tell him who does for him stay!
Human soul, should it dream of me,
Let my memory wakened be.

Moon, moon, oh do not wane, do not wane,
Moon, oh moon, do not wane....

BTW, this is the song that gorgeous Italian-Croatian soprano, Vedrana Zerav put on her repertoire recently

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Aleksey Igudesman and Richard Hyung-ki Joo

I WILL SURVIVE by Aleksey Igudesman and Richard Hyung-ki Joo. Classical musicians could be funny too. They are great so enjoy this take on a popular, well, pop song.


"The video (below) is really fun, classic music lovers should be cautious with this, those guys require an open mind, you can see on the video some faces that doesn't look very happy with the show, but for me they are good."


Maria Callas: "Voi lo sapete", by Mascagni

Maria Callas sings "Voi lo sapete" from Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. NHK Tokio 1974 with very good best sound quality.

Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) by Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), a tragic one-act Italian opera composed in 1890. Like Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana also cultivated a new style in the late 19th-century Italian literary movement called verismo, meaning 'realism' or 'truthful.'

The opera depicts life in a Sicilian village where love, betrayal and integrity come about. The mood is set with a chorus and an Easter hymn, together with arias and duets that drive the tragic drama. Santuzza's "Voi lo sapete, o mamma" is a best-known solo. Cavalleria Rusticana include the passionate devotional hymn "Easter Chorus" and "Peasants' Chorus."

Maria Callas Otello: Ave Maria

I am always in awe when listening to Maria Callas. She's neither the best singer nor the most beautiful voice ever but her charisma is unsurpassed. I never know what to write when posting Maria's art. So just listen and enjoy as I do...

I've noticed many are searching for Una voce poco fa translation and La donna e mobile lyrics so girls and guys, fellow opera lovers, just follow these two links and voila!, there you are...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Enrico Caruso sings Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia is a traditional Neapolitan song. It was transcribed by Teodoro Cottrau (1827-1879) and published by the Cottrau firm, as a "barcarolla", at Naples in 1849. Cottrau translated it from Napuletano into Italian during the first stage of the Risorgimento, the first Neapolitan song to be given Italian lyrics. Its transcriber, who is very often credited as its composer, was the son of the French-born Italian composer and collector of songs Guillaume Louis Cottrau (1797-1847).

The Neapolitan lyrics of "Santa Lucia" celebrate the picturesque waterfront district, Borgo Santa Lucia, in the Bay of Naples, in the invitation of a boatman to take a turn in his boat, the better to enjoy the cool of the evening.


Santa Lucia English Translation:

The silver star shines on the sea,

the waves are gentle, the wind is favourable.
Come to my swift little boat!
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

O dear Naples, o blessed land,
where creation was pleased to smile!
Come to my swift little boat!
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Italian Original Lyrics:
Sul mare luccica l'astro d'argento.
Placida e l'onda, prospero il vento.
Venite all'agile barchetta mia!
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

O dolce Napoli, o suol beato,
ove sorridere volle il creato!
Venite all'agile barchetta mia!

Renata Tebaldi, Madama Butterfly Duet Part 2

All that you need to know about Madame Butterfly in previous post, HERE.

Renata Tebaldi, Madama Butterfly Duet Part 1

The entire text below thanks to the Music With Ease website. No copyright infringement, just a small token of gratidude for the friends from Music With Ease that are, see, getting three links from the Opera Lady :). Thank you guys, you're so much better source than Wikipedia!!!

Madame Butterfly -
(Original Italian title: Madama Butterfly)
An Opera by Giacomo Puccini

Opera in two acts, by Giacomo Puccini, words after the story of John Luther Long and the drama of David Belasco by L. Illica and G. Giacosa. English version by Mrs. R.H. Elkin. Produced unsuccessfully, La Scala, Milan, February 17, 1904, with Storchio, Zenatello, and De Luca, conductor Cleofante Campanini. Slightly revised, but with Act II divided into two distinct parts, at Brescia, May 28, 1904, with Krusceniski, Zenatello, and Bellati; when it scored a success. Covent Garden, London, July 10, 1905, with Destinn, Caruso, and Scotti, conductor Campanini. Washington, D.C., October, 1906, in English, by the Savage Opera Company, and by the same company, Garden Theatre, New York, November 12, 1906, with Elsa Szamozy, Harriet Behne, Joseph F. Sheehan, and Winifred Goff; Metropolitan Opera House, New York, February 11, 1907, with Farrar (Butterfly), Homer (Suzuki), Caruso (Pinkerton), Scotti (Sharpless), and Reiss (Goro).


MADAM BUTTERFLY (Cio-Cio-San)…………………….. Soprano
SUZUKI (her servant)………………………………………. Mezzo-Soprano
KATE PINKERTON………………………………………… Mezzo-Soprano
B. F. PINKERTON, Lieutenant, U.S.N………………………Tenor
SHARPLESS (U. S. Consul at Nagasaki)…………………Baritone
GORO ( a marriage broker)…………………………………Tenor
PRINCE YAMADORI………………………………………… Baritone
THE BONZE (Cio-Cio‘s uncle)……………………………. Bass
YAKUSIDE………………………………………………….… Baritone
THE OFFICIAL REGISTRAR, member of the Chorus……Baritone
CIO-CIO-SAN’S MOTHER, member of the Chorus……….Mezzo-Soprano
THE AUNT, member of the Chorus………..………..………Mezzo-Soprano
THE COUSIN, member of the Chorus………..………..… Soprano
TROUBLE (Cio-Cio-San’s Child)……………………………
Cio-Cio San’s relations and friends. Servants.

Time: Nineteenth century.
Place: Nagasaki.

Although "Madama Butterfly" is in two acts, the division of the second act into two parts by the fall of the curtain, there also being an instrumental introduction to part second, practically gives the opera three acts.

Act I. There is a prelude, based on a Japanese theme. This theme runs through the greater part of the act. It is employed as a background and as a connecting link, with the result that it imparts much exotic tone colour to the scenes. The prelude passes over into the first act without a break.

Lieutenant B. F. Pinkerton, U.S.N., is on the point of contracting a "Japanese marriage" with Cio-Cio-San, whom her friends call Butterfly. At the rise of the curtain Pinkerton is looking over a little house on a hill facing the harbour. This house he has leased and is about to occupy with his Japanese wife. Goro, the nakodo or marriage broker, who has arranged the match, also has found the house for him and is showing him over it, enjoying the American’s surprise at the clever contrivances found in Japanese house construction. Three Japanese servants are in the house, one of whom is Suzuki, Butterfly’s faithful maid.

Sharpless, the American Consul at Nagasaki, arrives. In the chat which follows between the two men it becomes apparent that Sharpless looks upon the step Pinkerton is about to take with disfavour. He argues that what may be a mere matter of pastime to the American Naval lieutenant, may have been taken seriously by the Japanese girl and, if so, may prove a matter of life or death with her. Pinkerton on the other hand laughs off his friend’s fears and, having poured out drinks for both, recklessly pledges his real American wife of the future. Further discussion is interrupted by the arrival of the bride with her relatives and friends.

After greetings have been exchanged, the Consul on conversing with Butterfly becomes thoroughly convinced that he was correct in cautioning Pinkerton. For he discovers that she is not contemplating the usual Japanese marriage of arrangement, but, actually being in love with Pinkerton, is taking it with complete seriousness. She has even gone to the extent, as she confides to Pinkerton, of secretly renouncing her religious faith, the faith of her forefathers, and embracing his, before entering on her new life with him. This step, when discovered by her relatives, means that she has cut herself loose from all her old associations and belongings, and entrusts herself and her future entirely to her husband.

Minor officials whose duty it is to see that the marriage contract, even though it be a "Japanese marriage," is signed with proper ceremony, arrive. In the midst of drinking and merry-making on the part of all who have come to the wedding, they are started by fierce imprecations from a distance and gradually drawing nearer. A weird figure, shouting and cursing wildly, appears upon the scene. It is Butterfly’s uncle, the Bonze (Japanese priest). He has discovered her renunciation of faith, now calls down curses upon her head for it, and insists that all her relatives, even her immediate family, renounce her. Pinkerton enraged at the disturbance turns them out of the house. The air shakes with their imprecations as they depart. Butterfly is weeping bitterly, but Pinkerton soon is enabled to comfort her. The act closes with a passionate love scene.

The Japanese theme, which I have spoken of as forming the introduction to the act, besides, the background to the greater part of it, in fact up to the scene with the Bonze, never becomes monotonous because it is interrupted by several other musical episodes. Such are the short theme to which Pinkerton sings "Tutto e Pronto" (All is ready), and the skippy little theme when Goro tells Pinkerton about those who will be present at the ceremony. When Pinkerton sings, "The whole world over, on business or pleasure the Yankee travels," a motif based on the "Star Spangled Banner," is heard for the first time.

In the duet between Pinkerton and Sharpless, which Pinkerton begins with the words, "Amore o grillo" (Love or fancy), Sharpless’s serious argument and its suggestion of the possibility of Butterfly’s genuine love for Pinkerton are well brought out in the music. When Butterfly and her party arrive, her voice soars above those of the others to the strains of the same theme which occurs as a climax to the love duet at the end of the act and which, in the course of the opera, is heard on other occasions so intimately associated with herself and her emotions that it may be regarded as a motif, expressing the love she has conceived for Pinkerton.

Full of feeling is the music of her confession to Pinkerton that she has renounced the faith of her forefathers, in order to be a fit wife for the man she loves:-- "Ieri son salita" (Hear what I would tell you). An episode, brief but of great charm, is the chorus "Kami! O Kami! Let’s drink to the newly married couple." Then comes the interruption of the cheerful scene by the appearance of the Bonze, which forms a dramatic contrast.

It is customary with Puccini to create "atmosphere" of time and place through the medium of the early scenes of his operas. It is only necessary to recall the opening episodes in the first acts of "La Bohème" and "Tosca." He has done the same thing in "Madam Butterfly," by the employment of the Japanese theme already referred to, and by the crowded episodes attending the arrival of Butterfly and the performance of the ceremony. These episodes are full of action and colour, and distinctly Japanese in the impression they make. Moreover, they afford the only opportunity throughout the entire opera to employ the chorus upon the open stage. It is heard again in the second act, but only behind the scenes and humming in order to give the effect of distance.

The love scene between Pinkerton and Butterfly is extended. From its beginning, "Viene la sera" (Evening is falling),

[Music excerpt]

to the end, its interest never flags. It is full of beautiful melody charged with sentiment and passion, yet varied with lighter passages, like Butterfly’s "I am like the moon’s little goddess"; "I used to think if anyone should want me"; and the exquisite, "Vogliatemi bene" (Ah, love me a little). There is a beautiful melody for Pinkerton, "Love, what fear holds you trembling." The climax of the love duet is reached in two impassioned phrases:-- "Dolce notte! Quante stelle" (Night of rapture, stars unnumbered),

[Music excerpt]

and "Oh! Quanti occhi fisi, attenti" (Oh, kindly heavens).

[Music excerpt]

Act II. Part I. Three years have elapsed. It is a long time since Pinkerton has left Butterfly with the promise to return to her "when the robins nest." When the curtain rises, after an introduction, in which another Japanese theme is employed, Suzuki, although convinced that Pinkerton has deserted her mistress, is praying for his return. Butterfly is full of faith and trust. In chiding her devoted maid for doubting that Pinkerton will return, she draws in language and song a vivid picture of his home-coming and of their mutual joy therein: - "Un bel di vedremo" (Some day he’ll come).

[Music excerpt]

In point of fact, Pinkerton really is returning to Nagasaki, but with no idea of resuming relations with his Japanese wife. Indeed, before leaving America he has written to Sharpless asking him to let Butterfly know that he is married to an American wife, who will join him in Nagasaki. Sharpless calls upon Butterfly, and attempts to deliver his message, but is unable to do so because of the emotions aroused in Butterfly by the very sight of a letter from Pinkerton. It throws her into a transport of joy because, unable immediately to grasp its contents, she believes that in writing he has remembered her, and must be returning to her. Sharpless endeavours to make the true situation clear to her, but is interrupted by a visit from Yamadori, a wealthy Japanese suitor, whom Goro urges Butterfly to marry. For the money left by Pinkerton with his little Japanese wife has dwindled almost to nothing, and poverty stares her in the face. But she will not hear of an alliance with Yamadori. She protests that she is already married to Pinkerton, and will await his return.

When Yamadori has gone, Sharpless makes one more effort to open her eyes to the truth. They have a duet, "Ora a noi" (Now at last), in which he again produces the letter, and attempts to persuade her that Pinkerton has been faithless to her and has forgotten her. Her only reply is to fetch in her baby boy, born since Pinkerton’s departure. Her argument is that when the boy’s father hears what a fine son is waiting for him in Japan, he will hasten back. She sings to trouble, as the little boy is called:-"Sai cos’ ebbe cuore" (Do you hear, my sweet one, what that bad man is saying). Sharpless makes a final effort to disillusion her, but in vain. If Pinkerton does not come back, there are two things, she says, she can do -- return to her old life and sing for people, or die. She sings a touching little lullaby to her baby boy, Suzuki twice interrupting her with the pathetically voiced exclamation, "Poor Madam Butterfly!"

A salute of cannon from the harbour announces the arrival of a man-of-war. Looking through the telescope, Butterfly and Suzuki discover that it is Pinkerton’s ship, the "Abraham Lincoln." Now Butterfly is convinced that Sharpless is wrong. Her faith is about to be rewarded. The man she loves is returning to her. The home must be decorated and made cheerful and attractive to greet him. She and Suzuki distribute cherry blossoms wherever their effect will be most charming. The music accompanying this is the enchanting duet of the flowers, "Scuotti quella fronda diciliegio" (Shake that cherry tree till every flower). Most effective is the phrase, "Gettiamo a mani piene mammole e tuberose" (In handfuls let us scatter violets and white roses.)

[Music excerpt]

Butterfly adorns herself and the baby boy. Then with her fingers she pierces three holes in the paper wall of the dwelling. She, Suzuki, and the baby peer through these, watching for Pinkerton’s arrival. Night falls. Suzuki and the boy drop off to sleep. Butterfly rigid, motionless, waits and watches, her faith still unshaken, for the return of the man who has forsaken her. The pathos of the scene is profound; the music, with the hum of voices, borne upon the night from the distant harbour, exquisite.

Act II. Part II. When the curtain rises, night has passed, dawn is breaking. Suzuki and the baby are fast asleep, but Butterfly still is watching. Again Puccini employs a Japanese melody (the "vigil" theme).

[Music excerpt]

When Suzuki awakes, she persuades the poor little "wife" to go upstairs to rest, which Butterfly does only upon Suzuki’s promise to awaken her as soon as Pinkerton arrives. Pinkerton and Sharpless appear. Suzuki at first is full of joyful surprise, which, however, soon gives way to consternation, when she learns the truth. Pinkerton himself, seeing about him the proofs of Butterfly’s complete loyalty to him, realizes the heartlessness of his own conduct. There is a dramatic trio for Pinkerton, Sharpless, and Suzuki. Pinkerton who cannot bear to face the situation, rushes away, leaving it to Sharpless to settle matters as best he can.

Butterfly has become aware that people are below. Suzuki tries to prevent her coming down, but she appears radiantly happy, for she expects to find her husband. The pathos of the scene in which she learns the truth is difficult to describe. But she does not burst into lamentations. With a gentleness which has been characteristic of her throughout, she bears the blow. She even expresses the wish to Kate, Pinkerton’s real wife, that she may experience all happiness, and sends word to Pinkerton that, if he will come for his son in half an hour, he can have him.

Sharpless and Mrs. Pinkerton withdraw. In a scene of tragic power, Butterfly mortally wounds herself with her father’s sword, the blade of which bears the inscription, "To die with honour when one can no longer live with honour," drags herself across the floor to where the boy is playing with his toys and waving a little American flag, and expires just as Pinkerton enters to take away the son whom thus she gives up to him.

For examples that already have been given of modern Italian opera, it is clear that "atmosphere," local colour, and character delineation are typical features of the art of Italy’s lyric stage as it flourishes today. In "Madama Butterfly" we have exotic tone colour to a degree that has been approached but not equaled by Verdi in "Aida." Certain brief scenes in Verdi’s opera are Egyptian in tone colour. In "Madama Butterfly" Japanese themes are used in extenso, and although the thrilling climaxes in the work are distinctively Italian, the Japanese under-current, dramatic and musical, always is felt. In that respect compare "Madama Butterfly" with a typical old Italian opera like "Lucia di Lammermoor" the scene of which is laid in Scotland, but in which there is nothing Scotch save the costumes -- no "atmosphere," no local colour. These things are taken seriously by modern Italian composers, who do not ignore melody, yet also appreciate the value of an eloquent instrumental support to the voice score; whereas the older Italian opera composers were content to distribute melody with a lavish hand and took little else into account.

In character delineation in the opera Butterfly dominates. She is a sweet, trusting, pathetic little creature -- traits expressed in the music as clearly as in the drama. The sturdy devotion of Suzuki is, if possible, brought out in an even stronger light in the opera than in the drama, and Sharpless is admirably drawn. Pinkerton, of course, cannot be made sympathetic. All that can be expected of him is that he be a tenor, and sing the beautiful music allotted to him in the first act with tender and passionate expression.


I "did" the first night of David Belasco’s play "Madam Butterfly" for the New York Herald. The production occurred at the Herald Square Theatre, Broadway and Thirty-fifth Street, New York, March 5, 1900, with Blanche Bates as Butterfly. It was given with "Naughty Anthony," a farce-comedy also by Belasco, which had been a failure. The tragedy had been constructed with great rapidity from John Luther Long’s story, but its success was even swifter. At the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, it was seen by Francis Nielsen, stage-manager of Covent Garden, who immediately sent word to Puccini urging him to come from Milan to London to see a play which, in his hands, might well become a successful opera. Puccini came at once, with the result that he created a work which has done its full share toward making the modern Italian lyric stage as flourishing as all unprejudiced critics concede it to be.

The Milan production pf "Madama Butterfly" was an utter failure. The audience hooted, the prima donna was in tears. The only person behind the scenes not disconcerted was the composer, whose faith in his work was so soon to be justified.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jussi Björling / Renata Tebaldi - O soave fanciulla (1956)

Two of the greatest singers ever, Jussi Björling & Renata Tebaldi sing O soave fanciulla (1956)... and so these two titans of the opera world close that door and we hear their radiant voices soaring into the heavens, and this is all we have left of them to remember. A treasured black and white video.

English Translation:

Oh lovely girl, oh sweet face
bathed in the soft moonlight.
I see you in a dream
I'd dream forever!

Ah! Love, you rule alone!

Already I taste in spirit
the heights of tenderness!
Love trembles at our kiss!

How sweet his praises
enter my heart...
Love, you alone rule!
He kisses Mimi.
No, please!
She frees herself.
You're mine!

Your friends are waiting.
You send me away already?
I dare not say what I'd like...

Tell me.
If I came with you...?

What? Mimi!
It would be so fine to stay here.
Outside it's cold.

I'd be near you!
And when we come back?
Who knows?
Give me your arm, my dear...

Your servant, sir...
Tell me you love me!

I love you.
They exit, arm in arm
Love! Love! Love!

Renata Tebaldi as Mimì: "Sì, mi chiamano Mimì"

Classic Performance from the great Renata Tebaldi with equally great Jussi Bjorling (1956) G. PUCCINI: La Boheme Opera - Act 1., "Sì, mi chiamano Mimì".

"I know that my voice has entered into the hearts of many people and has caused beautiful reactions. Some, hearing me sing, have become more religious; some who were ill felt joy; friends, while in hospital, played my tapes whenever they felt ill; they all said that my voice gave them the strength needed to stand the pain. Therefore, how can I not be thankful for this great gift?"

- Renata Tebaldi (1922-2004)

Maria Callas as Mimì -- "Sì, mi chiamano Mimì"

Giacomo Puccini wrote this beautiful opera. Listen and enjoy Maria Callas rendition of the most famous aria, "Sì, mi chiamano Mimì". More about aria + English Translation in other blog post, here.

Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini
Born: Lucca, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 22 Dec. 1858

Died: Brussels, Belgium, 29 Nov. 1924

Operas by Puccini
Dates and locations are those of premieres.
  • Le Villi (31.5.1884 Teatro dal Verme, Milan)
  • Le Villi [rev] (26.12.1884 Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Edgar (21.4.1889 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Edgar [rev] (28.2.1892 Teatro Communale, Ferrara)
  • Manon Lescaut (1.2.1893 Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • La bohème (1.2.1896 Teatro Regio, Turin)
  • Tosca (14.1.1900 Teatro Costanzi, Rome)
  • Madama Butterfly (17.2.1904 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)
  • Madama Butterfly [rev] (28.5.1904 Teatro Grande, Brescia)
  • Edgar [rev 2] (8.7.1905 Teatro Colón?, Buenos Aires)
  • Madama Butterfly [rev 2] (10.7.1905 Covent Garden, London)
  • Madama Butterfly [rev 3] (28.12.1905 Opéra Comique, Paris)
  • La fanciulla del West (10.12.1910 Metropolitan Opera, New York)
  • La rondine (27.3.1917 Opéra, Monte Carlo)
  • Il trittico (14.12.1918 Metropolitan Opera, New York):
  • Turandot (25.4.1926 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)

Angela GHEORGHIU sings "Si mi chiamano Mimi" from La Bohème by Puccini

Angela Gheorghiu sings Mimì's most beautiful and famous aria "Sì, mi chiamano Mimì" when she introduces herself to Rodolfo played by Roberto Alagna in Puccini's opera 'La Bohème', recorded in Orange on August 2, 2005.

Role :
Mimi, a seamstress
Voice Part :
Fach :
lyric soprano
Setting :
Christmas Eve in a room in an attic
Synopsis :
After Rodolfo tells her that he has fallen in love with her, he asks Mimi to tell him something of her. She responds, telling him (among other things) that her name is Lucia, although she is called Mimi.


Yes, they call me Mimi,
But my name is Lucy
My history is brief
To cloth or to silk
I embroider at home or outside...
I am peaceful and happy
And it is my pastime
To make lilies and roses
I like these things
That have so sweet smell,
That speak of love, of spring,
That speak of dreams and of chimera
These things that have poetic names
Do you understand me?

They call me Mimi,
And why I don't know.
Alone, I make
Lunch for myself the smae.
I do not always go to mass,
But I pray a lot to the Lord.
I live alone, alone.
There is a white little room
I look upon the roofs and heaven.
By when the thaw comes
The first sun is mine
The first kiss of April is mine!
Rose buds in a vase
Leaf and leaf I watch it!
That gentle perfume of a flower!
But the flowers that I make
Ah me! they don't have odor!
About me I would not know how to tell
I am your neighbor who come unexpectedly
to bother you.

Translation by Terri Eickel

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings O mio babbino caro

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's night. Famous O mio babbino caro aria. Nothing much to say, just listen and enjoy her beauty...

O Mio Babbino Caro Italian Original Lyrics

O mio babbino caro,
mi piace, è bello bello,
vo’andare in Porta Rossa
a comperar l’anello!
Si, si, ci voglio andare!
E se l’amassi indarno,
andrei sul Ponte Vecchio
ma per buttarmi in Arno!
Mi struggo e mi tormento,
O Dio! Vorrei morir!
Babbo, pietà, pietà!
Babbo, pietà, pietà!

O Mio Babbino Caro Lyrics Translation

I've also noticed many are searching for Una voce poco fa translation and La donna e mobile lyrics so girls and guys, fellow opera lovers, just follow these two links and voila!, there you are...

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - "Libera me" (Verdi, Messa da Requiem)

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings "Libera me"Giuseppe Verdi: Messa da Requiem
"Libera me" - Part 1

Lyrics: Libera Me (English Translation below Latin original)

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna,
in die illa tremenda,
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.
Dum veneris judicare saeculum
per ignem.
Tremens factus sum ego, et timeo,
dum discussio venerit atque
ventura ira
quando coeli movendi sunt et terra.
Dies illa, dies irae, calamitatis et miseriae,
dies magna et amara valde.
Dum veneris judicare saeculum
per ignem.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Deliver me, o Lord from everlasting death
on that dreadful day,
when the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
When thou shalt come to judge the world
by fire.
I quake with fear and I tremble,
awaiting the day of account and
the wrath to come
when the heavens and the earth shall be moved.
That day, the day of anger, of calamity, of misery,
that great day and most bitter.
When thou shalt come to judge the world
by fire.
Eternal rest grant them, o Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

Date of Recording: 6/1954
Venue: Milan Teatro alla Scala

Music Reading Made Easy

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings in English!

Great Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings in English! La Traviata (Violetta's aria from first act).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mozart's for Beginners Part 2

Mozart's music in this part:

1. The Magic Flute - Bernard Haitink/Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
2. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Neville Marriner/Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
3. Symphony No. 5 - Trevor Pinnock/The English Concert
4. Piano Concerto No. 23 - Christoph Eschenbach/London Philharmonic

Mozart's for Beginners Part 1.

I do not know is there a God but if she existed Mozart would've been her most favorite son. His music is simple beyond this world.

In this video:
1. Jupiter Symphony - Levine/Chicago Symphony Orchestra
2. Piano Concerto No. 20 - Bilson/Gardiner/English Baroque Soloists
3. The Abduction at the Seraglio - Gardiner/Monteverdi Choir
4. Symphony 40 in G Minor - Maazel/New York Philharmonic
5. Piano Sonata K.545 - Jean Bernard Pommier
6. Requiem in D Minor - Philippe
Here you can hear Mozart's Queen of the Night by Lucia Popp


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (The Phantom of the Opera)

Emily Rossum sings aria Think of me from The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra), that's a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois from September 23, 1909 to January 8, 1910. Initially, the story sold very poorly upon publication in book form and was even out of print several times during the twentieth century, despite the success of its various film and stage adaptations. 

The most notable of these were the 1925 film depiction and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical. The Phantom of the Opera musical is now the longest running Broadway show in history, and one of the most lucrative entertainment enterprises of all time.

From The Phantom of the Opera [Blu-ray] with Gerald Butler.

A na posledak ja skazy...(from A cruel romance)

Not an opera (from the movie A Cruel Romance ) but Larisa Guzeyeva is so beautiful and natural and so believable in this scene where she sings so beautifully that I felt I should put her here anyway. Enjoy!!


By Jorge Reyes (Amazon comment)

Consider the plot of a very beautiful young woman, whose life ahead is full of promise.. But consider also that this girl's life is actually torn apart by events which seem (apparently) out of her immediate control, like if fate was conspiring against her at every other corner. Even her mother, willingly or not, at some point "sells" her -though like every other mother she blindly believes doing what's best for her daughter's future. Zhestokij Romans is synonimous to drama: just watch the final scene, which is so powerful, telling and poetic...

I especially enjoyed the Gipsy scenes. All that dancing, joy and vodka were very moving in this film. Just as Yugoslav director Emir Kosturica has immortalized the Gipsy people (i.e. "Underground") we also see in "Zhestokij" droves of joyful Gipsies carrying everywhere they go that sound which is at the same time melancholic and joyous. Some other scenes reminded me of "Svadba" (Pavel Lounguine) a film which also features lots of partying and rivers of vodka despite the imminent disgrace and bitterness of life. I even found some parallels with "Luna Papa" another film from the former Soviet republics in which a young and pretty girl has to rapidly mature and leap from childhood into adulthood.
The Gipsy scenes also served as a very effective contrast between joy and doom. While they kept dancing, tragedy was occurring elsewhere. It's like they say: one man's happiness is another man's suffering.

Boris Christoff - Song of the Volga Boatmen

Boris Christoff sings the Song of the Volga Boatmen (Russian title:Эй, ухнем!). This is a well-known traditional Russian song collected by Mily Balakirev, and published in his book of folk songs. 

It is a genuine barge-haulers' shanty. The song, also called The Volga Burlak's Song, was inspired by Repin's famous painting, Burlaks on the Volga, depicting the suffering of the people in the depth of misery in Tsarist Russia.

(Burlaks of the Volga)

The song was popularised by Feodor Chaliapin, and has been a favourite concert piece of bass singers ever since. Glenn Miller took the song to #1 in the US charts in 1941.

Spanish composer Manuel De Falla wrote an arrangement of the song, which was published under the name Canto de los remeros del Volga (del cancionero musical ruso) in 1922. He did so at the behest of diplomat Ricardo Baeza, who was working with the League of Nations to provide financial relief for the more than two million Russian refugees who had been displaced and imprisoned during World War I. All proceeds from the song's publication were donated to this effort.

Nikola Subic Zrinjski -- Unknown Croatian Opera Finale

Almost totally unknown Croatian opera by Ivan Zajc, Nikola Subic Zrinjski, tells a story about one of the most heroic albeit tragic episodes in that small nation's history. After 3 days of defending the city walls most Croats died. Zrinski led a force of 600 soldiers out of the burning walls against 80,000 Turks. 24,000 Turks died in the final battle. But Turkish Suleiman died just before the last charge of Zrinski!! If Croats would have waited only a day or two (it was impossible to sustain the siege due to lack of food and water so Croats decided to die in a final battle, taking as much enemies they were able to take with them) they most likely would survived because Turks withdrew after Suleiman's death!!

A beautiful opera, mostly adored in, interesting enough, Japan. As a curiosity here you may find 1,000 Japanese sing this same aria!!


Maria Callas "Non mi dir" Don Giovanni Mozart

A woman whose name says it all -- Maria Callas -- sings "Non mi dir" from Don Giovanni by a man whose name says it all - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

  • Role : Donna Anna, a noblewoman
  • Voice Part : soprano   Fach : dramatic coloratura
  • Setting : A room in the palace of Donna Anna
  • Range : E4 to A#/Bb6. Tessitura : G4 to A6
  • Synopsis : Donna Anna, who is still strongly affected by her father's death, asks that Don Ottavio cease talking about marriage until she has had time to get over this tragedy. She still loves him, she says, but would like him to be patient.
English Translation:
I cruel? Ah no, my dearest! It grieves me much to postpone a bliss we have for long desired... But what would the world say? Do not tempt the fortitude; of my tender heart, which already pleads your loving cause. Say not, my beloved, that I am cruel to you: you must know how much I loved you,  and you know what I am true. Calm your torments, if you would not have me die of grief. One day, perhaps, Heaven again will smile on me. 

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Ah, chi mi dice mai - Don Giovanni

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings the Donna Elvira's first aria: "Ah, chi mi dice mai" from "Don Giovanni" by Mozart. Great Tito Gobbi sings Don Giovanni!

Matti Salminen: "In diesen heilg'en Hallen" | "The magic flute" by Mozart

Watch, listen and enjoy Matti Salminen rendition of the "In diesen heilg'en Hallen" from "The magic flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Matti's a very large man with an enormous voice and an expressive face. According to one reviewer, in his prime Salminen was "... simply the largest bass voice in captivity. It is not just its roar in powering over Wagner's maximum orchestra, but the way he carves the sonority and forms the color."


  • Role : Sarastro, high priest of Isis and Osiris
  • Voice Part : bass   Fach : heavy bass
  • Setting : Pamina's room
  • Range : F#/Gb2 to C#/Db4. Tessitura : B3 to C#/Db4
  • Synopsis : After Pamina pleads with Sarastro to have mercy on her scheming mother, Sarastro sings of the ideals of his Brotherhood.
  • English Translation:

    Within these hallowed halls
    One knows not revenge.
    And should a person have fallen,
    Love will guide him to duty.
    Then wanders he on the hand of a friend
    Cheerful and happy into a better land.
    Within these hallowed walls,
    Where human loves the human,
    No traitor can lurk,
    Because one forgives the enemy.
    Whomever these lessons do not please,
    Deserves not to be a human being. 

  • Don Giovanni by Mozart | Quartet "Non Ti Fidar"

    Carlo - Maria Giulini; The Don - Eberhard Wachter; Anna - Joan Sutherland; Elvira - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Angela Gheorghiu - Sempre Libera - La Traviata - Verdi

    Not the best sound but mesmerizing performance by a real Diva of our time, Angela Gheorghiu. Enjoy. I did not include English translation because the clip has subtitles.

    L'Elisir: E sul ti pur la barbara! Angela Gheorghiu

    Angela Gheorghiu in 1996 production of L'Elisir d'Amore in Paris. More on L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love) by Gaetano Donizetti on my other blog entry, here.

    L'Elisir d'Amore: Quanto amore! Angela Gheorghiu and Simone Alaimo

    Angela Gheorghiu and Simone Alaimo. Paris Opera. 1996. 'Maldito Candelabro'

    Angela is the perfect Adina: her beauty, voice and acting skills are perfect for this role. This DVD is a delightful production where Angela shines opposite her husband. I find Simone Alaimo the best Dulcamara i've ever heard...he has a great ability with comic timing and i find he sings this role incredibly well.

    L'elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love) is a melodramma giocoso in two acts by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Eugène Scribe's libretto for Daniel-François-Esprit Auber's Le philtre (1831).

    The premiere was at the Teatro della Canobbiana, Milan on 12 May 1832.

    Place: A small village in the Basque Country.
    Time: The end of the 18th century

    Act 1

    The opening of this comic opera finds Nemorino, a poor peasant, in love with Adina, a beautiful landowner, who torments Nemorino with her indifference. When Nemorino hears Adina reading to her workers the story of Tristan and Isolde, he is convinced that a magic potion will gain Adina's love for him. He is afraid she loves the self-important Sergeant Belcore who appears with his regiment and immediately proposes marriage to Adina in front of everyone. The traveling quack salesman, Dulcamara (the self-proclaimed Dr. Encyclopedia), arrives, selling his bottled cure-all to the townspeople. Nemorino innocently asks Dulcamara if he has anything like Isolde's love potion. Dulcamara says he does, selling it to Nemorino at a price matching the contents of Nemorino's pockets.

    Unknown to Nemorino, the bottle contains only wine. And, in order to make a timely escape, Dulcamara tells Nemorino the potion will not take effect until the next day. Nemorino drinks it, feeling its effects immediately. Emboldened by the 'elixir' Nemorino encounters Adina, and although she teases him mercilessly, the audience senses that the attraction just might be mutual, were it not for the marriage proposal of the impressive and pompous sergeant. In fact, their wedding date had been set for six days hence. Nemorino's confidence that tomorrow he will win Adina by virtue of the elixir, causes him to act indifferently toward her. This upsets Adina, but she attempts to hide her feelings. Instead, she ups the ante as well by agreeing to Sergeant Belcore's alternate suggestion: that they marry immediately as he has just received orders that the regiment must ship off the next morning. Both Adina and the Sergeant gauge Nemorino's reaction to this news, the Sergeant with resentment, Adina with despair. Nemorino is, of course panicked, and cries out for Doctor Dulcamara to come to his aid.

    Act 2
    Adina's outdoor wedding party is in full swing. Dr. Dulcamara is there, and performs a song with Adina to entertain the guests. The notary arrives to make the marriage official. Adina is sad to see that Nemorino has not appeared. Everyone goes inside to sign the wedding contract. But Dulcamara stays outside, helping himself to food and drink. Nemorino appears, having seen the notary, realizes that he has lost Adina. He sees the Doctor and frantically begs him for more elixir, of the type that will work immediately. But because Nemorino has no money, the Doctor refuses, disappearing inside. The Sergeant emerges, alone, wondering aloud why Adina has suddenly put off the wedding and the signing of the contract. Nemorino spots his rival, but is powerless to do anything. The Sergeant asks about Nemorino's dejection. When Nemorino says he has no money Belcore immediately suggests that if he joins the army he'll be paid immediately. He produces a contract, which Nemorino signs (with an X) in return for the cash Belcore gives him on the spot. Nemorino privately vows to fly to Dulcamara for more potion, while Belcore muses that he has easily dispatched of his rival by sending him off to war.

    Later that evening the women of the village are gossiping that Nemorino is unaware that he has just inherited a large fortune from his deceased uncle. They spot Nemorino, who has clearly spent his military signing bonus, and has bought and consumed a large amount of 'elixir' (wine again) from Dr. Dulcamara. The women approach Nemorino with overly friendly greetings, the likes of which he has never seen. This is proof to Nemorino that this dose of the elixir has worked. Adina sees Nemorino in a jolly mood and, encountering Dr. Dulcamara, wonders what has gotten into him. Dulcamara, unaware that Adina is the object of Nemorino's affection, tells her the story of the smitten bumpkin who spent his last penny on the elixir, and even signed his life away, joining the army for money to get more, so desperate was he to win the love of some unnamed cruel beauty. Adina immediately realizes Nemorino's sincerity, and regrets teasing him. She falls for Nemorino, basking in the sincerity of his love. Dulcamara interprets this behavior as some sort of condition requiring a cure by one of his potions.

    They depart. Nemorino appears alone, pensive, reflecting on a tear he saw in Adina's eye when he was ignoring her earlier. Based on that tear alone, he is sincerely convinced that Adina loves him. She enters, asking him why he has chosen to join the army and leave the town. When Nemorino says he's seeking a better life, Adina responds by telling him he is loved, and that she has purchased his military contract from Sergeant Belcore. She offers the cancelled contract to Nemorino, asking him to take it. He is free now. She says, however, that if he stays, he will no longer be sad. As he takes the contract Adina turns to leave. Nemorino believes she is abandoning him and flies in to a desperate fit, vowing that if he is not loved, if the elixir has not worked, and the Doctor has fooled him, then he might as well go off and die a soldier. Adina stops him and confesses that she loves him. Nemorino is ecstatic. Adina begs him to forgive her for teasing him. He does so with a kiss. The sergeant returns, seeing the two in an embrace. Adina explains that she loves Nemorino. The Sergeant takes the news in stride, noting that there are plenty of other women in the world. Dulcamara, his bags packed, pops out of a doorway, adding that he will happily provide elixir for the Sergeant's next conquest. A crowd has gathered by now, all agreeing that the elixir has done its job as they bid a fond farewell to the doctor.

    Maria Callas: "Ombra Leggiera" (Shadow Song)

    Maria Callas is like a bird trying to sing as many fiorituras as possible. Absolutely amazing!! It is difficult to understand how it is possible a musician, as great Meyerbeer was, is unknown and forgotten as it be today.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Maria Callas: "Voi lo sapete" Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni)

    Maria Callas sings "Voi lo sapete, o mamma"; Santuzza's aria from Cavalleria Rusticana:

    Role: Santuzza, a peasant girl
    Voice Part: soprano
    Fach: spinto
    Setting: Easter Sunday in the main square of a Sicilian village, Italy, late 1800s
    Range: B4 to A6. Tessitura : F4 to G5
    Synopsis: Santuzza tells Mamma Lucia that when her son left to join the Army, he promised to marry Lola. When he came back, however, Lola had married someone else. So, he fell in love with Santuzza which made Lola so jealous that she has stolen him away from Santuzza.

    English Translation

    You know, mamma, that
    Before he went off to be a soldier
    Turiddu swore to Lola
    To be eternally faithful
    He returned to find her married;
    And with a new love
    He wanted to extinguish the flame
    That burnt in his heart:
    He loved me, I loved him.
    She, envious of my happiness,
    Forgotten by her husband,
    Burning with jealousy,
    She stole him from me.
    I am left, dishonoured:
    Lola and Turiddu love each other,
    And I weep!

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    Renata Tebaldi "O mio babbino caro" | Live Broadcast 1957!!

    Beautiful interpretation of the Great Renata Tebaldi! Listen to her incredibly beautiful voice... she really has such an awesome voice & vibrato! 

    Ettore Bastianini in - AIDA Live in Vienna 1963

    Such a unique and beautiful could never be mistaken for another. Ettore is an artist that has past for all time... no other shall replace him. Leontyne Price also sounds great in this rare clip.

    Luciano Pavarotti: Celeste Aida from Aida by Giuseppe Verdi

    Celeste Aida - Romanza from Act I of the Italian opera, Aïda by Giuseppe Verdi
    Libretto : Antonio Ghislanzoni. Sung by great Luciano Pavarotti. This performance was recorded in La Scala, in 1986.  

    Role: Radamès, an officer in the Egyptian army 
    Voice Part : tenor
    Fach : dramatic tenor/heldentenor
    Setting : A hall in the Palace of the Kings at Memphis.
    Range : Has not been entered yet.
    Synopsis : Rumors of an impending war with Ethiopia have been circulating. Radamès has just been told by Ramfis that Isis has named a new, young man to command the Egyptian Army. Radamès wishes it were he so he could free Aida.

    Celeste Aïda, Radamès's aria from Aïda, English Translation:

    If I were that warrior!
    If my dream came true!
    An army of brave men lead by me
    And all victories and the praise of Menfi
    And to you, my sweet Aida,
    Returning wrapped in laurels
    I would say: I've fought for you,
    I've won for you!

    Heavenly Aida, divine shape,
    mystic garland of light and flowers,
    you are queen of my thoughts,
    you are the splendour of my life
    I would like to give you your sky back,
    the sweet breeze of the fatherland:
    to put a regal garland on your heart
    to build up a throne for you next to the sun

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    O sole mio by a baritone!! ETTORE BASTIANINI

    Just a taste of a different flair. Will be back with more on Maestro Ettore Bastianini ASAP. Until, enjoy his rendition of O sole mio:



    The story of Ettore Bastianini by David Macchi

    Ettore Bastianini was born on the 24th of September 1922 in Siena in the district ("contrada") called Pantera (the Panther), and he died in Sirmione on Lake Garda on the 25th of January 1967. He was son of an unknown father and his mother was all he had of any importance in this world. He voice was naturally very beautiful and he started right after world war two a short carrer as a bass. He wasn't going anywhere really, but one day he was convinced by his teacher Maestro Luciano Bettarini to try to study for six months as a baritone. It was 1951 and he was 29. He was very poor though, and he couldn't afford to pay for the lessons, but his teacher said to him that he would have paid him later when he would have been rich and famous, and that's exactly what happened!

    He was so poor that he had to shave himself with the same razor for a whole week, because he couldn't even afford to buy new razors! It didn't take long to get to his debut as a baritone in his Siena on January 1952 and then, that same year, on December at the Teatro Comunale in Florence in "The queen of spades" by Tciaikovskij. In 1953 he sang in Turin in "Andrea Chenier" and then, on December of that same year, he was already at the Metropolitan Theatre of New York in "Traviata" where he received an ovation after his aria!!! His voice was so beautiful that was compared to bronze and velvet because it was powerful but soft at the same time.

    He was on his way then to a great carrer, going from triumph to triumph, and in 1955 he was at La Scala in Milan in the legendary Visconti production of "Traviata" with Maria Callas and Giulini as conductor. He would sing then, in his short but very intense carrer (just over 10 years), for the Teatro alla Scala in 20 different operas as the principal baritone. He became then the principal baritone of the most important theatres of the world: La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper and New York apart from frequent performances in all the others including London, Salzburg, Chicago...

    Then, just when in 1962, he thought he had found finally the woman of his life, a young girl called Manuela, the terrible condamn to death in Chicago: cancer in the throath! He never said anything to anyone and he kept for himself the horrible secret. His dear mother had died in that same period and he was alone. He said to his girlfriend that he couldn't go on with her anymore without telling her why. He kept going with his carrer but he had to undergo the terrible radiations because he had refused to have an operation that, if it might have made him live until old age, he would have taken away, on the other hand, his main reason to live: the artistic expression of singing.

    Of course his voice wasn't the same anymore but nobody knew why, and eventually the inevitable happened: he got booed at La Scala in "Rigoletto" as his voice wasn't responding anymore to the orders of his will. A sad decline followed and the only happy moment was the victory of his district "The Panther" in the horse race of Siena "Il Palio" while he was President and Captain. In the pictures in this page you can see Ettore in triumph after the victory and with the winning horse. He bought the horse afterwards and he called him "Ettore", of course.Then sorrow and pain came back and the great theatres one after another finished the contracts with him. Destiny wanted that the last scene he sang in 1965 in the three greatest theatres of Vienna, Milan and New York was the death scene of Marquis of Posa in "Don Carlo" by Verdi, the noble role he had sung so well in the past...

    Public, critics, his colleagues and everybody in the opera world wondered about this misterious decline of a singer just over 40 years old who had been so good before, and it was with surprise and sorrow that the news of his illness was received, when he was already about to die. He died in Sirmione on the 25th of January 1967 at only 44 and it was for pure coincidence that the girl he had loved, Manuela, the one he had wanted to leave 5 years before, the one he had never seen anymore since, the one who even had married in the meantime, was the only one there with him when he gave his last breath. Two days later all the town of Siena was there for his funeral. He received the honours of Captain of the "Contrada della Pantera" and it was the procedure of a funeral of State

    When the funeral passed close to one of the openings on Piazza del Campo, the coffin was turned toward the Tower of Mangia for a last goodbye as the bell of the Palazzo Comunale stroked death tolls.
    The memory of his Art has never died though. It goes on alive all over the world among the REAL music lovers, the people who study it , who sing it, who listen to it, who goes to the theatre hoping desperately to find something decent among the too many CARDBOARD VOICES around, especially male singers. It is really SAD that the wonderful art of opera singing is drowning into oblivion and one of the reasons is definetely the fact that there are too many singers with NO BALLS, if you get my drift...and if anybody among you is offended by my opinion, that's simply the proof that I am right! Ettore Bastianini will always live in our memory.