Verdi

Remember the 2011 Norway attacks: Music for comfort and hope

Five years have passed since the two terrible sequential terrorist attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011 known as “The 2011 Norway attacks”, in Norway just as “22 July” (“22. juli”). The lone wolf terrorist killed 77 persons an injured over four times as many.

I haven’t really got anything to add to what’s been said before during the last five years. You come to a point were there’s no words left. It’s all been said before, and even better by others. The important thing is to remember those who died, to honour their legacy, and to never let this happen again. To anybody.

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All I can offer here is music. I strongly believe in the power of music. Music can express love, loss, longing, anger and despair. Music can comfort, help and heal. Music can give people strength and hope.

The days, weeks and months that followed the 2011 attacks really showed the world the strengths of Norwegian society. It also showed that music really can give comfort and hope to people. The terrible facts remain: 77 lives are gone forever, mostly young people. Just starting out on their life’s journey. That’s still so hard to comprehend, even today.

If music can give some comfort and hope to somebody out there struggling I offer five beautiful arias, the first three sung by Pavarotti and the last two sung by the countertenor David Hansen:

  • “Caro mio ben” by Giordani
  • “Che farò senza Euridice” from “Orfeo e Euridice” by Gluck
  • “O figli miei … Ah, la paterna mano” from “Macbeth# by Verdi
  • “Ombra mai fu” from “Serse” by Handel
  • “When I am laid in earth” from “Dido and Aeneas” by Purcell

The photo above is from the Oslo government quarter where the 2011 attacks started. The H block (the tallest building) was housing the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and the Police (the lowest building is the Y block). The photo is taken in August 2011, under a month after the attacks.

Never forget the 2011 Norway attacks!

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This blog post no. 313 was first published 22-07-2016. Last revision 22-07-2016.

To sing, or not to sing … Pavarotti sings William Shakespeare

The whole world is celebrating the great William Shakespeare this week. On 23 April 2016 was exactly 400 years since the death of the greatest writer in the English language.

Shakespeare’s works have inspired many other artists in creating new works in almost every art form there is, including classical music, such as operas from composers like Berlioz, Rossini, Verdi and Gounod.

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Pavarotti recorded and/or performed two operas inspired by works by Shakespeare.

Verdi’s Macbeth has a libretto based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Pavarotti sang the role of Macduff in a complete studio recording from 1970 which is available on Decca.

Verdi’s Otello has a libretto based on Shakespeare’s play Othello. Pavarotti sang the title role only in complete concert performances in 1991 which is also available on Decca.

In addition I would like to mention Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, an opera which has a libretto based on the story of Romeo and Juliet, the same story of Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Shakespeare based his play on another source, so Bellini’s opera isn’t strictly based on Shakespeare. At least three different complete live recordings from 1966-68 of this opera with Pavarotti singing the role of Tebaldo is available on various labels.

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And talking about Romeo and Juliet: Bernstein’s West Side Story was indeed inspired by Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. The Three Tenors sang “Maria”, “Tonight” and “America” from that musical on many of their concerts which are also available on their concert recordings on Decca and Warner.

I close this Pavarotti-Shakespeare investigation with the beautiful aria “O figli miei … Ah, la paterna mano” from Verdi’s Macbeth sung by Pavarotti in a concert performance.

Enjoy this Shakespeare jubilee year! There is so much more classical music inspired by the great Shakespeare for you to explore and enjoy! 🙂

This blog post no. 312 was first published 24-04-2016. Last revision 26-04-2016.

German Pavarotti compilation

Almost every year there’s at least one new Pavarotti compilation on the market. Especially interesting are Pavarotti releases from different countries. There are seldom any new tracks on these compilations but they are never the less interesting and very welcome.

This year Decca in Germany released a single CD Pavarotti compilation for the German market entitled La donna è mobile.

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This compilation contains 21 tracks of mainly opera arias but also some popular Italian songs and one religious work is included. This CD is sold for a bargain price in stores and is also easily available online.

I love the picture of Pavarotti on the cover! 🙂

I believe it goes without saying that the following aria is included! 🙂

This post was first published 29-12-2015. Last revision 29-12-2015.

Pavarotti arias A-Z: S for “Se quel guerrier io fossi! … Celeste Aida”

My series of posts with Pavarotti arias A-Z continues. Let’s go!

Today is the letter S for “Se quel guerrier io fossi! … Celeste Aida” from the Verdi opera Aida. This is in fact a two for one giveaway: “Se quel guerrier io fossi!” is the recitative that precedes the more famous aria “Celeste Aida”.

Listen to this fantastic performance from the Metropolitan Opera in 1986. Glorious singing by Pavarotti followed by ecstatic applause from the audience.

Guess what! Look out for a new aria tomorrow!

This post was first published 08-05-2015. Last revised 08-05-2015.

Pavarotti arias A-Z: Q for “Questa o quella”

My series of posts with Pavarotti arias A-Z continues. Let’s go!

Today is the letter Q for “Questa o quella” which is a wonderful aria from the Verdi opera Rigoletto.

Listen to a live performance of this aria from the Rome Opera conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini in Rome in 1966. A complete recording of this opera performance can be found on several unofficial CD releases.

Guess what! Look out for a new aria tomorrow!

This post was first published 06-05-2015. Last revised 06-05-2015.

Pavarotti arias A-Z: P for “Parmi veder le lagrime”

My series of posts with Pavarotti arias A-Z continues. Let’s go!

Today is the letter P for “Parmi veder le lagrime” which is a wonderful aria from the Verdi opera Rigoletto.

Listen to the version taken from the very first Decca recording Pavarotti made, the 1964 five track EP.

Guess what! Look out for a new aria tomorrow!

This post was first published 05-05-2015. Last revised 05-05-2015.

Pavarotti arias A-Z: O for “Odi il voto”

My series of posts with Pavarotti arias A-Z continues. Let’s go!

Today is the letter O for “Odi il voto” which is a wonderful aria from the Verdi opera Ernani.

The video is taken from a complete performance of the opera at The Metropolitan Opera conducted by James Levine. The complete performance is available on Decca DVD.

Pavarotti sings so glorious and moving in this video! 🙂

Guess what! Look out for a new aria tomorrow!

This post was first published 04-05-2015. Last revised 04-05-2015.