Friday, 23 January 2015

O Mio Babbino Caro

Today was the end of my long week, and a full day it was ! 10 pupils in all, of different ages and stages ! Thursday used to be my short and easy day, and somehow, quite magically it has turned into the longest and biggest of all my four working days - how did that happen.

L came today for the first time in a good few months, fresh voiced and looking for some inspirational new music. We looked at some of the standard repertoire - having trained in the musical theatre world, she does not have so much background repertoire - so we looked at the beautiful O Mio Babbino Caro From the opera Gianni Schicchi by Puccini which will suit her to the proverbial T ! Her voice was as shiny and strong as usual, perhaps the support muscles were a little bit rusty, but the instrument was working very well. The well known Puccini aria is a true classic, smaller than some yet pure lush Romantic Italian melody, and a joy both to sing and listen too. There is much to be said for what Middy used to call 'pot boilers', meaning of course straight down the line plum centre and popular song. We need to ask ourselves why it is so popular, a century or so after its composition. I think the answer is quite plain really - wonderful music is just that, wonderful. It can be sung over and over by great singers, good singers and adequate singers, and the sheer beauty and heart of the song shines through.

So this most loved and well known of Puccini's arias stands the test of time, over and over again. It is new to L, and she will sing it so beautifully. It is so good to hear her voice again.

This is, without doubt my favourite version of the aria. Maria Callas was riveting to watch, she drew one in to her world in an almost hypnotic way. Her singing was fantastic, yet not always 'beautiful' in the conventional sense but it was like listening to pure vocal weeping. Enjoy it for the whole experience, the music, the drama and the magic. If you like this, try googling Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi in the only film version of Tosca Act 2............unbearably heart breaking.

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