Friday, February 13, 2015

Aria, Aria

No. 185 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at


As we continue our “Double, Double” series of podcasts, we cannot forget to program some duets, especially as tomorrow will be Valentine’s Day… The montage will propose not only some tender moments between flirtatious protagonists, but also some duets for two guys ar two gals, but I promise, nothing sinister! In this montage, I tried to program works in French, German and Italian…

Our collection of love duets begins with a song from a Franz Lehar opera that is not The Merry Widow…Wer hat die Liebe uns ins Herz gesenkt? (Who Has Planted Love in Our Hearts?), is a duet between Prince Sou-Chong and his love interest, Lisa from "Das Land des Lächelns" (The Land of Similes). The title of the operetta refers to the Chinese custom of smiling, whatever happens in life.

The circumstances of Act 4 of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots aren’t quite as happy… This grand duo closes the act - the St-Bartholomew Massacre is the backdrop for this intensely long duet between the Protestant Huguenot Raoul and the Catholic Valentine. .

From Mascagni’s second best-known opera L’Amico Fritz, I retained the “Cherry Duet” between Fritz and the young Suzel. Richard Strauss was enamoured of the female voice, and Der Rosenkavalier is famed for the beautiful music of the three female-voice roles which comprise its protagonists: Sophie, Octavian, and the Marschallin. My selection is from the scene when Octavian arrives with great pomp, dressed all in silver, to present the silver rose to Sophie in an elaborate ceremony. Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde is full of love music, and in this duet Tristan decries the realm of daylight which is false, unreal, and keeps the lovers apart. It is only in night, he claims, that they can truly be together and only in the long night of death can they be eternally united ("O sink' hernieder, Nacht der Liebe").

From the closing scene of the first act of Massenet’s Manon, Manon and Des Grieux plot to leave and start a life together in Paris.

Duets for two male voice retained in our montage include the stirring Au fond du temple saint from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, the final scene from Acrt 2 od Bellini’s I Puritani when Giorgio, then Riccardo, then together sing  Suoni la tromba! From Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, the comic duet Cheti, cheti, immantinente, which to our benefit was a late addition to the libretto.

To close the montage, a selection from popular repertoire, engineered as a duet by Canadian producer David Foster, where he creates a duet between Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie on one of Nat’s most famous ballads. Unforgettable!

I think you will love this music too

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