The Portrait of Puccini’s Aria E LUCEVAN LE STELLE
Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “E LUCEVAN LE STELLE”.
The aria – synopsis and background
The synopsis: Cavaradossi is a prisoner at the angel castle. His execution is imminent. In “E lucevan le stelle” he thinks back nostalgically and lovingly to the times with his beloved Floria Tosca. First he wants to write farewell words to his lover but he is overwhelmed by the thoughts of Floria Tosca.
Besides beautiful duets Puccini lets the tenor sing two famous arias in this opera: “Recondita armonia” and “E lucevan le stelle”. Cavaradossi’s execution is imminent and he thinks back to Tosca with melancholy. It is a great aria written in typical Puccini style; while Cavaradossi sings a monotonous passage in the first part of the aria, he is accompanied by an expressive melody of the clarinet. The tenor’s melody then evolves and culminates.
In this aria, the performers must transport emotions with constant rubati. At the beginning of the aria Cavaradossi describes how the memories of visions, smells and feelings sparkle like distant stars. Puccini gives the singer the opportunity to immerse into these feelings by singing different timbres. The following passage “O dolci baci, o languide carezze”, which alludes to past love nights, must be sung with warmth and tenderness until the dark, hopeless thoughts dominate with “Svani sempre” and finally the despair bursts out of him in the “muoio disparato”. After the aria, Puccini instructs the tenor to burst into tears.
This aria must be sung with great feeling. But it must never be too loud to get the last chance for a big applause and to exaggerate.
The Aria – the text of E lucevan le stelle
E lucevan le stelle,
Ed olezzava la terra
Stridea l’uscio dell’orto
E un passo sfiorava la rena.
Entrava ella fragrante,
Mi cadea fra la braccia.
O dolci baci, o languide carezze,
Mentr’io fremente le belle forme disciogliea dai veli!
Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d’amore.
L’ora è fuggita, e muoio disperato!
E muoio disperato! E non ho amato mai tanto la vita!
Tanto la vita!
Vocal Fach «Spinto Tenor»
The role of Cavaradossi 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 E LUCEVAN LE STELLE
We start with a simply great version of Enrico Caruso. His beautiful ornaments (e.g. on languide) and occasional vibrati (O dolci baci) bring big emotions into the first part. The ritardando on Discogliea is overwhelming and the “muoio disperato” is heartbreaking. And the famous Caruso sobbing in “tanto la vita” is the icing on the cake. The orchestral accompaniment, of course, is not original, it has been subsequently supplemented with a modern orchestral sound.
E lucevan le stelle (1) – Caruso
You will hear a very beautiful and sensual interpretation from Di Stefano, who develops a beautiful timbre and ritardando in the particularly important “discogliea”.
E lucevan le stelle (2) – di Stefano
I like the brilliance of Jussi Björling’s voice in this aria.
E lucevan le stelle (3) – Björling / Leinsdorf
Another version with the powerful, but velvety soft voice of Placido Domingo in the wonderful film recording of Zeffirelli. Listen to the end of this aria how Domingo brings all the despair in his voice.
E lucevan le stelle (4) – Domingo
Another famous Tenor. Listen how beautiful he sings the “Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d’amore”.
E lucevan le stelle (5) – Pavarotti
Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the Aria “E lucevan le stelle” from the opera TOSCA.