Opera in the Regions Playlist Curated by Chris van Tuinen
We are thrilled to be back on the road this week with our highly anticipated Opera in the Regions tour. To celebrate our Music Director Chris van Tuinen has curated this week's playlist to give you a sneak peek of what to expect during these show-stopping performances. Read about and stream the full playlist below and we look forward to seeing you at Opera in the Regions.
Brindisi - Famous on pasta advertisements the world over this work is actually more appropriate for a beer ad. Occurring early in the opera, before things get tragic, the ensemble sing about the joys of having a drink together and the excitement of a good party. Joy before tragedy
Largo - “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro” is probably the best known lyric in opera. What people tend to forget is that he’s calling his own name, and imitating all those around him who demand for his attention. As the title translates, he’s a broadly useful man of many skills
Cruda Sorte - Celebrating Rossini’s love of all Mezzo Sopranos (he married one) we have another stand out aria for this voice. Starting slow then getting fast with all the trademark melody and coloratura
Don Carlo - Set in the midst of a war and with a tangled web of romantic connections, our tenor and baritone affirm their bonds of eternal friendship. Needless to say, it doesn’t all go to plan.
Frederico’s Lament - An extraordinary bit of writing for the tenor voice, floating between sotto voce technique and full throated anguish, it gives us the emotional range of his broken heart without ever really finding a tempo or time signature.
Soave - The most well known Mozart trio, from his opera Cosi, sees our ladies bidding a tearful farewell to their fiancés while the Machiavellian Don Alfonso sings along.
Non più andrai - Figaro teases the young Cherubino about his new life in the army. “No longer will you go disturbing ladies in their sleep Little Narcissus, Adonis of love”
Lakme - Made famous by British Airways in 1984 this duet is deceptively difficult, quite hard to sing in tune and flexible in its rhythm. Needless to say, most opera singers these days have no trouble and we’re all the better for that!!
La Danza is a patter song in Tarantella time - In layman’s terms that means a song with a lot of fast text (showing off the diction of the singer) and in a compound time signature, fast enough to dance off the poison of a tarantula bite. NB. don’t try that at home, dancing off a spider bite doesn’t work, you should apply appropriate first aid and seek medical attention.
Sempre Libera - From the same opera as our opening Brindisi (La Traviata) this showstopper is all about keeping the party going, taking control of your life and always being free. If the opera is anything to go by, it doesn’t work.
Funiculi Funicula- A fake folk song written in 1880 about a train (the first funicular railway on Mt Vesuvius), where a young man compares his sweetheart to a volcano and asks her to ascent the summit with him (hint hint). Despite this slightly odd provenance the song has been a huge hit, performed by all and sundry.
Core Ngrato - Another Neapolitan song but this time written in America. Adopted by Caruso but we don’t know if he commissioned it. In the song, Catarì's lover reproaches the girl for thoughtlessly and heartlessly rejecting his abiding love for her (maybe he took her on too many trains!!); he implores her not to forget that he has given her his heart and that his soul is in torment; and he says he has confessed his feelings to a priest, who advised him to let her go. Although why anyone would go to a Catholic priest for relationship advice is not explained.
Cat duet - The only thing one needs to know about this is that Rossini decided to represent the soprano voice and personality through the mechanism of competing cats. Enough said.
Pearlfishers duet - With such a stunningly beautiful and iconic moment in opera it’s worth thinking about why. I could say something smart here about how it perfectly sets up the musico dramatic tensions between our two heros and thus we see the fatal flaws that drive us towards the awful conclusion of the opera but in reality, it’s just a great tune that makes the voices sound beautiful, happy, and sad all in the same moment.
Anything you can do - Great moment of competitive singing, lots of fun for any singers with good comedic timing
Climb Every Mountain - Needs no introduction but wonderful to see a nun get a torch song. Maybe she should have given the advice in Core Ngrato
My way - Made famous by Sinatra in 1967 was originally a french song with entirely different lyrics. Still holds the record for number of weeks in the top 40 charts (75 weeks) and was a hit for a number of other singers. I think Frank would have made an excellent opera singer but he was probably happy with how he did crooning.
Delilah - Recorded in the same year as My Way it tells a story operatic in nature. A man walks past the house of his beloved to see her in the arms of another man. He then confronts her and in the ensuing fracas, stabs her to death. Made famous by the welsh tenor Tom Jones there is a suggestion that the flamenco references are a link to Bizet’s opera Carmen (as the plot is very similar) though this is unsubstantiated.
Nessun Dorma - The program finishes with a famous aria, by a famous composer, from a famous opera. Sit back and wait for the “Vincerò”