The online opera guide of Verdi’s Aria DI PROVENZA IL MAR IL SUOL
Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “DI PROVENZA IL MAR IL SUOL”.
The aria – synopsis and background
Synopsis: During Alfredo’s absence his father Germont visits Violetta. He wants to prevent the marriage, since his daughter cannot marry due to the disreputable liaison of her brother. Violetta recognizes this impossible situation. Violetta writes a farewell letter to Alfredo. Once again she evokes her love for Alfredo. When reading the letter Alfredo is devastated. Germont tries to comfort his son with memories of Alfredo’s parental home, after he has read Violetta’s farewell letter.
With an expressive cello cantilena, accompanied by the flute, Verdi leads us into the world of Germont. The baritone sings a nostalgic melody adorned with grace notes. It sounds almost like a lullaby to calm a child.
Germont’s voice must be light and yet forceful without appearing monotonous. The baritone gets the opportunity to bring emotions to life with his voice, e.g. in the first “E che pace colla sol” Verdi writes a “dolce” and in the following repetition “forte, con espressione”.
This aria repeats the same passage four times more or less unchanged. This makes it all the more important that the singer shapes and colorsthe piece with his voice. Also the two closings “Dio mi guido” in the first part and “Dio m’esaudi” give the baritone the opportunity to express his emotions musically.
The Aria – the text of DI PROVENZA IL MAR IL SUOL
Di Provenza il mar, il suol –
chi dal cor ti cancello?
Al natio fulgente sol –
qual destino ti furò?
Oh, rammenta pur nel duol –
ch’ivi gioia a te brillò;
E che pace colà sol –
su te splendere ancor può.
Dio mi guidò!
Ah! il tuo vecchio genitor –
tu non sai quanto soffrì
di squallor il suo tetto si coprì
Ma se alfin ti trovo ancor, –
se in me speme non fallì,
Se la voce dell’onor –
in te appien non ammuti,
What has vanished from your heart
The dear sea and soil of Provence?
What has dimmed from your eyes
The bright sunshine of your native country?
Even in sorrow,
Remember you were happy there,
There alone can peace
Shine on you again.
It was God who brought me here!
You do not know
What pain your old father has suffered!
With you away
His home has been desolate indeed.
But if in finding you again
My hopes are not in vain,
If the voice of honour
Is not silent for you,
God has heard me!
Famous interpretations of DI PROVENZA IL MAR IL SUOL
First you will hear a recording of Robert Merrill with the NBC Orchestra conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Robert Merrill wrote in his memoirs about the work on the Traviata with Toscanini. On the one hand, he drew the image of a tyrant who did not stop at even the most primitive curses, but also the image of a gifted musician: “The Maestro made you better than you even thought you were. He made you float. He made the impossible come true. Listen to the impressive recording of this collaboration from 1946. Merrill impresses with his lyrical baritone of great vocal splendour.
Di Provenza il mar, il suol (1) – Merrill/Toscanini
Bruson was probably the best Germont of his generation.
Di Provenza il mar, il suol (2) – Bruson
Next is Tito Gobbi
Di Provenza il mar, il suol (3) – Gobbi/Serafin
Next we’ll hear a contemporary of Caruso’s. De Luca’s voice was “of pure texture, soft but shimmering piano sound and tenor coloration in the high notes”. (Kesting)
Di Provenza il mar, il suol (4) – de Luca
Thes Last recording is from 1907 by Tita Ruffo. Many experts consider Tito Ruffo the best baritone modern times. His voice is said to have eclipsed everything in terms of power and volume. De Luca (the baritone of the previous recording) has said of Ruffo: “It was not a voice, but a miracle”.
Di Provenza il mar, il suol (5) – Ruffo
Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the Aria “DI PROVENZA IL MAR IL SUOL” from the opera La Traviata.