Giuseppe Verdi


A weekly Quixotic pursuit for appreciators of opera who don't expect too much, would-be appreciators of opera who don't know what to expect, and those somewhere in-between,
such as your host.

Thrown together in haste every
Saturdee morning by
Rip Rense

Giacomo Puccini

OPRY LINKS 4: Pavarotti Smackdown! ¿Quién es Más Macho?

The Great Man

Saturdee Opry Links Overture!
The Italian Girl in Algiers," by Rossini

Luciano Vs. Past Greats. YOU. . .be the judge. In this corner. . .

“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.
Tito Schipa
(Skinny) Pavarotti
(on stage)
About Schipa:
Pavarotti admiring Schipa:

“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.
Beniamino Gigli
About Gigli:

 “Non Ti Scordar Di Me” (Neopolitan Song) (“Don’t Forget Me”), beloved song by Ernesto de Curtis (who also wrote "Torna a Surriento.")
Feruccio Tagliavini
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.
“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.”
About 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 years old.

“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.”
“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.”
Carlo Bergonzi
About Bergonzi:
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.
“Granada." Mi cantar hecho de fantasia. . .Written in 1932 by Agustin Lara.
Fritz Wunderlich
About poor Wunderlich, who died just before his 36th birthday after falling down stairs.
 “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.
Enrico Caruso
About Caruso:
 “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 go on".
Lauritz Melchior(!)
About the aria:
About Melchior:
“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.
Mario Lanza
(live 1948)
(live 1980)
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.
Franco Corelli
Pavarotti (aria begins at 5:20)
About Corelli, “Prince of Tenors:”


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