The online guide to Giordano’s aria COME UN BEL DI DI MAGGIO
Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “COME UN BEL DI DI MAGGIO”.
The aria – synopsis and background
Synopsis: Chénier and Roucher are sitting in the dungeon waiting for their execution. Chénier reads one of his last verses to Roucher.
This aria was composed for a powerful, expressive voice. It consists of three parts. In the first part a lonely harp enters with short sighing interjections of the oboe. Chenier’s voice enters with a soft and melancholic sound:
A beautiful line has to be drawn in “che con bacio di vento e carezza di raggio” and an expressive ritardando in “carezza di poesia” lets beautiful thoughts of the beloved poetry shine forth.
In the second part Chenier is in form of a recitative where Chenier expresses bitterness about his fate.
In the third part the orchestra blossoms and Chenier finds the strength for a beautiful crescendo on “Sia! Strofe, ultima Dea!” This aria ends with strength and confidence and yet the last word is “muore”.
The Aria – the text of COME UN BEL DI DI MAGGIO
Come un bel di di maggio
che con bacio di vento
e carezza di raggio
si spegne in firmamento,
col bacio io d’una rima,
carezza di poesia,
salgo l’estrema cima
La sfera che cammina
per ogni umana sorte
ecco già mi avvicina
all’ora della morte,
e forse pria che l’ultima
mia strofe sia finita,
m’annuncerà il carnefice
la fine della vita.
Sia! Strofe, ultima Dea!
ancor dona al tuo poeta
la sfolgorante idea,
la fiamma consueta;
io, a te, mentre
tu vivida a me sgorghi dal cuore,
darò per rima il gelido
spiro d’un uom che muore.
Like a beautiful day in May
that with kiss of wind
and ray caress
goes off in firmament,
with the kiss of a rhyme,
caress of poetry,
I climb the extreme top
of my existence.
The walking sphere
for every human destiny
here it is already approaching me
at the time of death,
and perhaps first that the last one
my verse is over,
the executioner will announce me
the end of life.
Both! Strofe, last Goddess!
still give to your poet
the brilliant idea,
the usual flame;
I, to you, while you vivid
to me it flows from the heart,
I will give the ice for rhyme
spiro of a man who dies.
Written for a Spinto Tenor
The role of Andrea Chénier is written for a spinto tenor (Italian) respectively young heroic tenor (German). The voice is strong and masculine. It has a metallic brilliance in the high notes. It captivates with its effortless power in the higher tessitura and has still agility. In the high register the Spinto Tenor can inspire the audience with top notes.
Famous interpretations of COME UN BEL DI DI MAGGIO
Jussi Björling never sang Chenier at the opera house. His interpretation convinces with the beautiful line and the melancholic Björling timbre.
Come un bel di di maggio (1) – Björling
Another interpretation can be found by Alfred Piccaver (1883-1958). «For twenty-five years Piccaver was the uncrowned tenor king of Viennese opera life. Puccini made no secret of the fact that, after Caruso’s death, Piccaver was the best representative of his tenor roles for him, and he exerted his influence so that Piccaver could sing his parts in Europe. Piccaver (born in England as Alfred Peckover) was loved by the Viennese, but had his moods. Above all, he didn’t care to cancel performances at short notice if he felt even the slightest indisposition when the weather changed. The bon mot was that the management had asked him whether he had already planned his indispositions for the next season.» (Fischer, grosse Stimmen)
Come un bel di di maggio (2) – Piccaver
Corelli was an impressive Chénier. The lines are heroic and painful. A little bit negative are the rough ornaments in the first part, which show the deficiencies of his technique (compare for example the recording of Björling).
Come un bel di di maggio (3) – Corelli
Domingo connects a special story with the opera Andrea Chénier. As a young singer he was classified as a baritone and was allowed to audition for the role of Gerard at the local opera house in Mexico. When he sang “Nemico della patria”, the auditors asked him to sing a tenor aria from sheet. The rest is opera history!
Come un bel di di maggio (4) – Domingo
Chénier is one of the key roles of Jonas Kaufmann. His voice is rather shadowy compared to del Monaco or Corelli. In the last 20 years, probably no one could hold a candle to him in this role.
Come un bel di di maggio (5) – Kaufmann
and finally a last interpretation of Mario del Monaco
Come un bel di di maggio (5) – del Monaco
Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the Aria “COME UN BEL DI DI MAGGIO” from the opera Andrea Chénier.