Friday, December 13, 2013

Sunday Classics preview: Three acts, three duets

by Ken

Okay, so we've got these three duet-chunks for soprano and tenor -- duet-chunks that for reasons which I hope will become apparent have a way of merging and mingling in my head. They're very different, and yet . . . .

I don't think I'm giving away too much by stipulating that the composer is Giuseppe Verdi, or noting that in all three cases our chunk occurs near the end of a dramatic scene and seems to be attempting some resolution of the situation, with one partner tossing out the tune (in two cases the soprano, in one the tenor), and then the other partner lobbing it back.

For tonight we're going to hear pretty much just the tossing out and lobbing back, and I thought I'd skip texts -- we can catch up with that Sunday.

Act I

Soprano, "Ah! Seguirti fino agl'ultimi confini della terra" ("Ah! To follow you to the farthest confines of the earth")

Maria Caniglia, soprano; EIAR (Italian Radio) (Turin) Symphony Orchestra, Gino Marinuzzi, cond. Cetra, recorded 1941

Tenor, "Sospiro, luce ed anima di questo cor che t'ama" ("Breath, light, and life of this heart that loves you")

Richard Tucker, tenor; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Fritz Stiedry, cond. Live performance, Nov. 29, 1952

Act II

Tenor, "Oh, qual soave brivido l'acceso petto irrora!" ("Oh, what sweet throbbing thrills my burning breast!")

Plácido Domingo, tenor; Vienna Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan, cond. DG, recorded Jan.-Feb. 1989

Soprano, "Ahi, sul funereo letto ov'io sognava spegnerlo" ("Ah, on its deathbed, where I dreamed of stifling it")

Leontyne Price, soprano; RCA Italiana Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf, cond. RCA-BMG, recorded June 1966


Soprano, "Ah! Gran Dio, morir si giovine, io che penato ho tanto!"("Ah! Great God, to die so young, I who have suffered so much!")

Victoria de los Angeles, soprano; Rome Opera Orchestra, Tullio Serafin, cond. EMI, recorded June 1959

Tenor, "O mio sospiro e palpito, diletto del cor mio" ("O my breath and pulse, delight of my heart")

Luciano Pavarotti, tenor; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Richard Bonynge, cond. Live performance, 1970

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