Mystery score

Mystery score

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Favorite Puccini Tenor Aria

NOT ONE OF THOSE.

My favorite is Rinuccio's aria from Gianni Schicchi, "Firenze e un albero fiorito." Now Schicchi is the funniest hour of opera ever written (really).  This aria, which is lovely on its own, makes a whole lot more sense in context. In any event, here are some performances by the great and not so great.

The young Placido Domingo, 40 years ago; listen to the style and authority:



And Giuseppe di Stefano, at the Met in 1949:



Antonio Cortis in 1924, not very long after the 1918 premier:



Juan Diego Florez is light for Rinuccio, but with great technique and a beautiful voice he can still sing this well:



Here is the great Sonya Konya, a little covered on top, and with a very odd accent; still, what vigor and what a gorgeous voice:


I beat up on Saimir Pirgu last year following his SF Opera debut. Here's some evidence of why; note the strain, grainy voice, and poor legato, then go back and listen to one of the previous tenors:



For a serious oddity, I once stumbled on a performance of this aria, in English, by....Jon Vickers. I am sure it's still there someplace. Oh, wait! Here it is:

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