Thou Shalt Covet Thy Neighbor’s Arias
If you’re a singer, chances are you have a Secret List of arias you’d kill to sing. But if you’re anything like me, you also have a Not So Secret List of arias you’d kill to sing that happen to be in a fach or voice type other than the one you possess.
Welcome to therapy. It’s time for a little bit of musical healing–let’s come clean. Hi, my name is Georgeanne, and here are five arias I unashamedly covet:
1. “Svegliatevi nel core”, from Giulio Cesare in Egitto [G. F. Handel]
I LOVE A GOOD RAGE ARIA, YOU GUYS. Strangely, I first heard this aria while turning pages for a peer’s senior recital. I fell in love with the introduction, even in its piano reduction. I’m pretty sure it could inspire even the most peace-loving people I know to want to set everything on fire and avenge their father’s death.
2. “Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren” [The Presentation of the Rose], from Der Rosenkavalier [R. Strauss]
Okay, so it’s not an aria, it’s a scene, but are you really going to blame me for listing it? Come on, man. This one is a double whammy because not only am I not a mezzo (though there is precedent for soprani Octavians [thanks, Sena Jurinac!]), I’m also not the type of soprano that would likely sing Sophie, either. That’s fine, because I can either be the Marschallin or sit in the audience. Regardless, I’m ENJOYING THE MUSIC and not worrying about floating high Cs.
3. “Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre”, from Carmen [G. Bizet]
If you haven’t ever pretended you were Escamillo, I’m calling you out right now. Get on that and unleash your inner toreador.
4. “En fermant les yeux”, from Manon [J. Massenet]
The ultimate tender tenor (see what I did there?) aria. I get weepy every time the first motive begins. And who does it better than Björling?
5. “Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio”, from Le nozze di Figaro [W.A. Mozart]
A true masterpiece of musical writing. Its orchestration conveys every nervous (and occasionally risqué) palpitation a young boy discovering himself (and other ladies!) might have, but its elegant vocal line is quintessentially Mozartian. No note is out of place–each is carefully constructed to bring out Cherubino’s longings. Mozart manages to break your heart with “e se non ho chi m’oda,” right before ending the aria with a confident flourish.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
6. “Stride la vampa”, from Il trovatore [G. Verdi]
I know I said I’d only list five, but I’d really be remiss if I didn’t at least post a video to this. Holy chest voice, crazy gypsy, macabre text about fire and death… sign me up. Note: Giulietta Simionato was 54 years of age when she was singing Azucena in this clip. Divine.
So, while I’m over the moon with my voice type, every now and again I wish I could sprinkle a little opera fairy dust on the top of my head so I could sing one of these arias. Maybe I just have a thing for pants roles, I don’t know.
Now it’s your turn, Dear Reader: what’s on YOUR list of arias you’d kill to be able to sing?