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Opera Daily 🎶 — Gigli's 'Lamento di Federico'"
This week's Opera Daily features "È la solita storia del pastore", a tenor aria from Act 2 of the Italian opera L'Arlesiana
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Today we’re listening to…
“È la solita storia del pastore” (“Lamento di Federico”), a tenor aria from Act 2 of the Italian opera L'Arlesiana by Francesco Cilea.
🌟 Spotlight on Beniamino Gigli: Often referred to as “Caruso Secondo,” though he was truly a unique voice in his own right, Beniamino Gigli reigns supreme in the world of lyrical tenors. His voice, noted for its beauty, warmth, and expressiveness, made him one of the most sought-after tenors of his time. Gigli’s renditions were characterized by his impeccable legato and his ability to convey deep emotions, capturing the hearts of audiences everywhere.
In “È la solita storia del pastore,” Gigli's voice caresses each note, tapping into Federico’s character’s raw emotion and despair.
In the aria, Federico recalls his childhood dreams of love, which have now become painful memories. He is heartbroken over l'Arlesiana, the girl from Arles, who remains an unseen character throughout the opera. The lyrics and music combine to create a moving lamentation of unrequited love.
Trust me, as you listen, you’ll be transported by the sheer beauty and expressiveness of Gigli's voice, providing a masterclass in both vocal technique and emotional delivery.
🎧 Treat Your Ears (4 minute listen): Tenor Beniamino Gigli singing “È la solita storia del pastore” from Francesco Cilea’s L'Arlesiana.
A Glimpse into L'Arlesiana:
Premiere: Milan, November 27, 1897
Cilea’s Touch: Known for his lyrical and emotive compositions, Francesco Cilea crafted operas that resonated with human emotions and drama.
Inspiration: The opera is adapted from a play by Alphonse Daudet, telling a tale of passionate and unattainable love, leading to ultimate tragedy.
Before the Spotlight Shines: The aria finds Federico reminiscing about his love for the mysterious woman from Arles, known as l'Arlesiana. In a moment of reflection, he reads an old shepherd’s tale, which mirrors his own unrequited love. The aria beautifully portrays the anguish and torment of young love that remains beyond reach.
Golden Era of Tenors: Beniamino Gigli emerged during what many consider the golden age of tenors. In an era dominated by voices like Caruso, Gigli carved his own niche, establishing himself as a successor to the greats and a legend in his own right. An often-cited sentiment goes, “Caruso was the king, but Gigli was the heart.”
🎼 Craving More? You can listen to Luciano Pavarotti singing his version of the aria here:
Grateful for your time and ears,
PS. Missed our last edition? We featured “O gioia la nube leggera,” a soprano aria from the one-act Italian opera Il segreto di Susanna.
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