The online opera guide of Puccini’s Aria RECONDITA ARMONIA
Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “Recondita armonia”.
The aria – synopsis and background
Synopsis: Love, death and terror – everything is in this opera. Its setting is in an Italian police state in 1800: An escaped political prisoner, Angelotti, is hiding in a church. There Cavaradossi is painting a picture of the Madonna with the features of Tosca and a second, unknown beauty. When Cavaradossi lifts the protective cloth from the picture, the Sagristan immediately recognizes that the features of the Madonna resemble those of the unknown woman (Attavanti, the sister of Cavaradossi) who often visits the church. In the famous aria «Recondita armonia» Cavaradossi is dreaming of his lover Floria Tosca.
Recondita armonia is a highlight of the opera and is performed early in the first act. Like Verdi, Puccini occasionally made fun of punishing the notorious late comers. The aria, like many others by Puccini, begins monton. It is occasionally interrupted by the murmuring of the Sagristan. He has a bad premonition that Cavaradossi’s playing with the Madonna’s facial features is not drawn and crosses himself at the end of the aria.
The aria “Recondita armonia” must be sung contemplatively by the tenor, a revelation in thoughts without haste. Puccini writes “con dolcezza” to the orchestra in the score. Beautiful details must be emphasized, such as the letters “R” from “ardente” and “bruna”, which describe Tosca. Cavaradossi must sing precisely, just as the painter works with a precise eye. So the tenor must sing the phrases “tu azzurro hai l’occhio” (Attavanti) and “Tosca hai l’occhio nero” differently, because it remains clear that Cavaradossi’s love is with Tosca.
The Aria – the text of RECONDITA ARMONIA
di bellezze diverse!…
E’ bruna Floria,
l’ardente amante mia,
e te, beltate ignota,
cinta di chiome bionde!
Tu azzurro hai l’occhio,
Tosca ha l’occhio nero!
L’arte nel suo mistero
le diverse bellezze insiem confonde:
Ma nel ritrar costei
Il mio solo pensiero,
il mio sol pensier sei tu,
Tosca, sei tu!
What subtle harmony of different beauties!
Floria, my passionate lover is a brunette
And you, unknown beauty,
Are framed by fair hair
You have blue eyes
Tosca has dark eyes
The mysterious art
Mixes the different beauties together:
But while I paint her
I only think
Ah! I only think of you
Tosca, of you!
Written for a «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 RECONDITA ARMONIA
Especially worth listening to is the version by Luciano Pavarotti accompanied by piano, wonderfully played by James Levine.
Recondita armonia (1) – Pavarotti
A great version is the next by Jussi Björling. His voice was of outstanding quality. It had a silvery timbre and a wonderful high register (Kesting).
Recondita armonia (2) – Björling/Leinsdorf
And a third interpretation by Placido Domingo from a wonderful opera film.
Recondita armonia (3) – Domingo
Next we hear Enrico Caruso. He sings the aria with a beautiful legato.
Recondita armonia (4) – Caruso
And a last version by Jonas Kaufmann.
Recondita armonia (5) – Kaufmann
Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the Aria “Recondita armonia” from the opera TOSCA.