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Six musical highlights of Tour 2019
Enjoy six spellbinding musical moments from our Tour 2019 operas.
The Duke’s crowd-pleasing Act III aria is a perfect musical mirror to this anti-hero. Insanely catchy and smoothly tuneful, it catches the easy-come-easy-go spirit of a Duke for whom both love and women are ever-changeable, swapped freely and without care from day to day. Ironically while the text criticises women’s fickleness it is the Duke’s own inconstancy that is betrayed here.
16-year-old Gilda is the youngest and most innocent of all Verdi’s heroines. Sheltered from the world in a convent, she knows little of men or even herself, and in the course of the opera we see her grow in passion and confidence. It is unusual (but revealing) that she sings this, her first and only aria, only after two duets in which she has appeared as the foil to first her father than her lover the Duke. Now finally in the lovely Act I aria ‘Caro nome’ she stands alone musically. The aria is delicate and its solo flute captures the sweetness and innocence of the character. There’s a folk-like simplicity to it, and its form (which essentially embellishes and varies the opening melody endlessly) shows a girl smitten by first love turning the idea of her beloved over endlessly in her mind.
In this video soprano Vuvu Mpofu (who will be playing Gilda on Tour) performs the aria in the beautiful setting of the Glyndebourne Organ Room
Nemorino’s heartfelt sincerity is summed up in his extraordinarily beautiful aria ‘Una furtive lagrima’ (A single, secret tear). A solo bassoon sets up a mournful mood, which bursts suddenly into musical sunshine as Nemorino realises that Adina might love him after all and his desperation turns to joy.
To entertain the guests as they wait for Adina and Belcore’s wedding, Dr Dulcamara persuades Adina to sing a duet with him. ‘Io son ricco e tu sei bella’ (I am rich and you are beautiful) imagines a flirtatious exchange between an elderly senator and a pretty young girl. You can hear both the stately, amorous man and the coy young woman in this frisky little dance, which plays this unlikely romance for comedy, keeping its tongue firmly in its cheek.
Kidnapped by Armida and Argante, Almirena must find a way to escape. In this heartfelt plea for release (which is carefully calculated to tug on the heartstrings) ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ she plays to her strengths, and begs for clemency, appealing to her captors in a melody whose fragmented phrases capture the broken, sobbing gasps of one in great distress, but whose poise speaks to a singer in complete control of this performance.
This is the aria in which we really begin to see the mettle of the Crusading Rinaldo. His beloved Almirena has been kidnapped by the wicked sorceress, on whom he swears vengeance in the explosive ‘Venti turbini’. A solo violin, flinging semiquavers around like artillery-fire, sets the tone for one of the opera’s most dazzling showpieces, and a musical demonstration that Armida has met her match.
You can see Rigoletto, L’elisir d’amore and Rinaldo on stage at Glyndebourne and around the country this autumn as part of Tour 2019.