KASS Music Gem of the Day: Verdi with Verve—Toscanini and Lanza

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Thu, 2009-11-05 05:56

Verdi and Puccini sealed the ascendancy of Italian opera over French. They were also a bulwark against Wagner, under whose malevolent influence tunes became extinct and singers inaudible, drowned out by the orchestra of which Wagner insisted they were simply a part. Here, with comments from Yehudi Menuhin, is The Great Toscanini conducting Verdi's Force of Destiny overture:

And here from The Great Caruso is The Great Mario singing Verdi's most famous "tune." Not wanting it being whistled in the streets before the debut of the opera for which he wrote it, Verdi withheld it from the cast till the day before the opening:

La donna è mobile
Qual piuma al vento,
Muta d'accento — e di pensiero.
Sempre un amabile,
Leggiadro viso,
In pianto o in riso, — è menzognero.
È sempre misero
Chi a lei s'affida,
Chi le confida — mal cauto il cuore!
Pur mai non sentesi
Felice appieno
Chi su quel seno — non liba amore!

Woman is flighty
Like a feather in the wind,
She changes her voice — and her mind.
Always sweet,
Pretty face,
In tears or in laughter, — she is always lying.
Always miserable
Is he who trusts her,
He who confides in her — his unwary heart!
Yet one never feels
Fully happy
Who on that bosom — does not drink love!