Opera Daily 🎶 — Why do I write this newsletter?
This week's edition of Opera Daily features “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana” from La Wally and “Glück, das mir verblieb” from Die Tote Stadt
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Why do I write this newsletter?
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If I am being honest, there are times when I think to myself—why am I writing this newsletter every week? Is it necessary? Is it important? We have lives to live, and opera is not the first thing we think about every day when we wake up and the last thing we think about when we go to sleep.
We might not need a newsletter about opera when our lives are incredible.
When we are feeling on top of the world.
When our bodies and families are healthy.
When our heart is intact and not broken.
When our children are happy.
But what about those moments when things are not perfect?
When your heart breaks or when a family member is ill.
Suddenly, you’re desperate to make sense of life, and you want to know if anybody has ever felt this bad before? And how did they come out of it?
Or the inverse to that, something great!
You meet somebody, and your heart explodes. You’re giddy. Has anybody felt like this before? What is happening to me?
And that’s when that poem, song, or piece of art is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
These forms of expression help us survive.
Over millennia, humans have depicted a vast spectrum of emotions in art that we can relate to our own experiences and which trigger feelings in us.
There are a lot of us here, so the chances that we all feel the same every Sunday is impossible.
So why am I writing this newsletter?
I write this newsletter because we need music, poetry, art, frankly, all forms of expression. And we need to be able to talk about them!
This week we are listening to two pieces that help me make sense of life.
I would love to hear about yours in the comments.
“Ebben? Ne andrò lontana” from La Wally
Maria Callas is singing the role of Wally here, and she lets her soul flow into the music. Heartbreakingly beautiful and otherworldly. She inhabits roles like very few singers in the past or present have done.
Callas was an innovator and transformed her personal pain into something beautiful for the world to experience. She influenced the opera world more than any other person during the 20th century.
🎧 Listening Example (5 minute listen): Soprano Maria Callas singing “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana” from Act I of the Italian opera La Wally by Alfredo Catalani
La Wally (La-vah-LEE) is about a woman named Wally from a small town in the Austrian Alps. Wally is secretly in love with a man from another town who is also the son of her father’s enemy. Her father catches wind of her feelings and demands that she marry his friend or be forced to leave his house. Wally defies her father, goes to the mountains, and sings “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana”.
I will go alone and far
As far as the echo of the church bell,
There, through the white snow;
I will go, I will go alone and far
Through the golden clouds.
“Glück, das mir verblieb” from Die Tote Stadt
Renée Fleming is singing the role of Marietta here, and every time I hear her sing it, I don’t have words that describe how it makes me feel. Her singing is warm, pure, and effortless.
🎧 Listening Example (6 minute listen): Soprano Renée Fleming singing “Glück, das mir verblieb” (popularly known as “Marietta's Lied”) a soprano aria from Act I of the German opera, Die Tote Stadt by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Die Tote Stadt (German for “The Dead City”) is the story of Paul, who greatly misses his wife, Marie, who recently died, but finds himself attracted to Marietta, who resembles her. When Marietta and Paul meet for the first time, Marietta sings “Marietta's Lied” to him about lost love.
Come to me, my true love.
Night sinks into the grove.
You are my light and day.
Anxiously beats heart on heart.
Hope itself soars heavenward.
Thank you for reading (and listening), and feel free to hit reply with feedback. I would love to hear from you.
Stay tuned for next week when I share my favorite Falstaff!
PS. If you missed last week’s selection, we featured an OD throwback featuring “Stride la vampa” from Il Trovatore and how culture is not entertainment.
❤️ If you enjoyed this selection, please hit the heart to like it (and share it too!)
I heard Carol Neblett do the NYC Opera premiere and she did a lovely job in Frank Corsaro's wild production. There was also a great Baritone aria with Dominic Cossa, but the opera as a whole was treacly and thin.
Callas does a haunting rendition. Several years ago La Wally was revived in Europe with a review in Opera News. The avalanche seemed to have ended that revival too.