August 10, 2012

Classical Piece of the Week: La donna e mobile

So, I was going choose a pavane by Ravel, but I changed my mind, because that piece is kind of sad and right now I'm super happy!!! The reason: I finished my music history exam!!! I feel so free now, and I will finally be able to go to the library (after one month of no library, can you believe it?)! ...Ok, I've got to stop going off the subject.

Well, I decided to change it up this week, and choose an aria, which is basically a song from an opera. Now, I'm not a super big opera fan, but I absolutely love "La donna e mobile". It's just got this incredible power to it that makes it utterly spectacular. So, this song is from the opera Rigoletto, which is composed by Giuseppe Verdi, and the librettist (person who writes the lyrics) was Francesco Maria Piave. Rigoletto tells the story of Rigoletto (of course), a hunchbacked court jester to the Duke of Mantua. Rigoletto has this super gorgeous daughter, Gilda, that is only allowed to go to the church. Gilda then tells Rigoletto that she has fallen in love with a young man she met at the church (who is in fact the Duke of Mantua). At night, a bunch of courtiers come to their house to abduct Gilda, as they believe that Gilda is Rigoletto's mistress. Rigoletto then learns that his daughter is in love with the Duke of Mantua, and he's very concerned as the Duke is known to be a womanizer and very disloyal. So, he makes Gilda dress up as a man to leave the court, and he hires Sparafucile, an assassin, to kill the Duke. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, coming from a composer like Verdi, you can almost predict that something's gonna go wrong. At night, in a tavern, Sparafucile's sister, Maddalena, falls in love with the Duke, and begs Sparafucile to spare his life. Sparafucile agrees, but says that if their is a volunteer victim that comes out, that person will be killed. Gilda hears the whole conversation from outside, and sacrifices herself. When Rigoletto opens up the bag in which the victim lays in, he discovers in horror that it is his own daughter, dying in his arms.

Yah, a pretty gruesome opera, but that's what things were like back then, the more tragic, the better. "La donna e mobile" is sung by the Duke, as he lays on the infidelity and fickle nature of women (which is quite ironic, coming from a person like him). It's in strophic form, which basically means the same music is repeated throughout the piece. It is honestly a pretty fabulous piece, and the ending is absolutely off the charts! Gotta also give credit to the singer though, Luciano Pavarotti was an amazing singer. Anyways, hope you guys enjoy this song! I know opera stuff might not be a lot of people's favorite thing to listen to, but give this one a try, it's just brilliant!

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-Grace :)


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