Thursday, February 14, 2008

Les folies d'amour

Isn't this a lovely picture? And perfect for Valentine's Day too, I think.

It's the cover of the latest CD from one of my favorite opera singers, Natalie Dessay. The repertoire is all bel canto and Verdi--six long scenes and arias:
  1. E strano! - Ah fors'e lui - Sempre libera (La Traviata)
  2. Elvira's Mad Scene (I Puritani)
  3. Oh nube che lieve - Nella pace del mesto riposo (Maria Stuarda)
  4. Caro nome (Rigoletto)
  5. Eccomi in lieta vesta - Oh quante volte (I Capuleti e i Montecchi)
  6. Lucia's Mad Scene (Lucia di Lammermoor)
I bought the album last week from iTunes and have only listened to it once, but so far am really enjoying it. Dessay puts a very personal touch on the Lucia scene, and her coloratura really does sound like crazy laughter when she sings Elvira's "Vien diletto." You also get a sense of how these arias function onstage, not just as showy recital pieces, because they have been produced with full orchestra, chorus, and other soloists as needed. I love in "Vien diletto" where the two baritone men sing "Il suo dolor, il suo dolor!" (Her sadness, her sadness!) while Dessay's voice soars above them. How diva-ish can one aria get?

Here is a promo video for this album, which bears the prosaic title Italian Opera Arias. This video gives some more enticing alternatives: Six portraits d'heroïnes legendaires (Six Portraits of Legendary Heroines) or my favorite, Natalie Dessay chante les folies de l'amour (Natalie Dessay Sings of Love's Madness).

Photo from

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