The Portrait of Verdi’s Aria TACEA LA NOTTE
Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “Tacea la notte”.
If you want to hear more about the opera Il Trovatore, click on the link to the opera portrait
The Aria – Synopsis & Background
Synopsis: Manrico is a troubadour and falls in love with the palace lady Leonora, who lives at the court of the Conte di Luna. Leonora returns the feelings and sings about her love for the mysterious troubadour who has entered her life. She is awaiting the troubadour in the garden together with Ines.
This scene consists of two arias. The aria “Tace la notte” begins lyrically and calmly in the nightly gardens of the palace, then allude to Leonora’s feelings of love for the mysterious troubadour and finally ends in ecstatic passages. In the immediately following Caballetta “di tale amor che dirsi” the singer must sing a demanding romantic caballetta with coloratura.
Tacea la notte:
Verdi’s tonal language brings us into a nocturnal scene of a secluded garden, romantically illuminated by a shimmering full moon light. At the beginning the singer has to take up the nocturnal mood and draw the mood described in the text with her voice. It begins with a gentle and light “notte placida” (peaceful night) and continues with a wider “ciel sereno” (clear sky) to a glowing “la luna viso argenteo” (the moon’s silver face). A fermate on Muto leads over to the B part, the “Dolci s’udiro e flebili” to be sung with great emotion (the sweet sad sounds of a lute). This motive is repeated again starting in “e versi” in pianissimo and ending in a high B in “melanconici”. This A/B part is repeated again. But now this A part is no longer about the night and the moon but about her, the mysterious troubadour and their feelings. This section is sung with great emotion and the Cavatina ends in a great and ecstatic cadenza.
Di tale amor che dirsi:
In the first part a contemplative, broad-flowing mood was in the foreground. In this caballetta, it changes into a fast coloratura aria. The piece poses a great challenge to the singer. The virtuoso piece must be sung with perfect legato in order to maintain its elegance without the coloratura losing its brilliance.
The Aria – the text of TACEA LA NOTTE
Tacea la notte placida
e bella in ciel sereno
la luna il viso argenteo
mostrava lieto e pieno…
Quando suonar per l’ aere,
infino allor sì muto,
dolci s’ udiro e flebili
gli accordi di un liuto,
e versi melanconici
un Trovator cantò.
Versi di prece ed umile
qual d’ uom che prega Iddio
in quella ripeteasi
un nome… il nome mio!
Corsi al veron sollecita…
Egli era! egli era desso!…
Gioia provai che agli angeli
solo è provar concesso!…
Al core, al guardo estatico
la terra un ciel sembrò.
The Aria – the text of DI TALE AMOR CHE DIRSI
Di tale amor, che dirsi
mal può dalla parola,
d’amor che intendo io sola,
il cor s’inebriò.
Il mio destino compiersi
non può che a lui dappresso…
S’io non vivrò per esso, per esso,
Vocal fach “dramatic coloratura soprano”
The role of Leonora is written for a dramatic coloratura soprano. The dramatic coloratura soprano must have both coloratura ability and the ability to master dramatic expression with a larger vocal volume. If this voice can also sing lyrical parts, so it can happen that the “dramatic coloratura soprano” can sing a wide repertoire.
Famous interpretations of “Tacea la notte” and “Di tale amor”
We hear this scene from four sopranos. We begin withLeontyne Price. It is the role with which Price has become a star: After a successful performance in Verona with Franco Corelli as Manrico, she was invited to the Met by Rudolf Bing, then director of the Met. The Trovatore in the 60/61 season meant the Met debut for both Corelli and Price. For Price this ended in an unforgettable triumphal success. The final ovation of the January 1961 performance lasted 40 minutes. One of the longest in the history of the Met.
Tacea la notte placida. Di tale amor (1) – Price
Leonora was also one of the Callas’ glamorous roles. Listen to her in Tacea la notte. The beautiful long bows and the richness of their timbre are impressive.
Tacea la notte placida. Di tale amor (2) – Callas
In the third version we hear Zinka Milanov. Kesting wrote enthusiastically about her Leonora: «The bows of the first aria (Tacea la notte) the extreme Tessitura of the second from the fourth act and the floating Pianissimi in the death scene can hardly be heard more beautifully than from the Yugoslavian».
Tacea la notte placida. Di tale amor (3) – Milanov
Take your time for Régine Crespin’s interpretation. Steane writes: «You need time to find a taste for the singing Crespin’s. The French singer not only, like most Gallic sopranos, has a little vinegar in the high register; her voice is also not beautiful in the usual sense, not pure in emission, not full in sound development. The voice exudes sound magic when it is taken back into the piano or pianissimo. the effect is «sublime».
Tacea la notte placida. Di tale amor (4) – Crespin
Rosa Ponselle was one of the outstanding sopranos of the golden age. Kush called her “the real prima donna of the Metropolitan Opera at which she celebrated unimaginable triumphs”. “You have to go back to Ponselle to find the old truth confirmed that interpretation can only begin after the technical mastery of the music. She masters the music, and this technical surplus is transformed into expression. In the cabaletta after Tacea la notte she sings an incredible piano d flat.” (Kesting) Listen to this recording of Tacea la notte with Rosa Ponselle.
Tace la notte…di tale amor (5) – Ponselle
Lilian Nordica with the aria Tacea la notte
The Nordica was one of the great sopranos after the turn of the century and often appeared as a partner of Caruso. A great singer must have been the Englishwoman Lillian Nordica. A beautiful recording of «Tacea la notte» from 1906 confirms this. Despite the poor sound quality, listening is a great pleasure and testifies to the great vocal quality. The Nordica had an eventful life. «The career of the 1857 born was overshadowed by many severe personal disappointments. Her second husband kept her money harmless and her third husband brought her fortune through with bad speculations. Shortly before she wanted to marry for the fourth time, her ship stranded on the coast of Java on the way back from Australia. She was rescued, but soon died in a hospital in Batavia» (Kesting). Read here the full Anecdote.
Tacea la notte – Nordica
Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the Aria “Tacea la notte” and “Di tale amor che dirsi” from the opera Il trovatore.
Then, in July 1852, by way of an announcement in a theatrical journal, Verdi received news of Cammarano’s death earlier that month. This was both a professional and a personal blow. The composer learned that Cammarano had completed Manrico’s third-act aria, “Di quella pira” just eight days before his death, but now he turned to De Sanctis to find him another librettist. Leone Emanuele Bardare was a young poet from Naples who was beginning his career; eventually he wrote more than 15 librettos before 1880. His main aim, having changed his mind about the distribution of characters in the opera, was to enhance the role of Leonora, thus making it “a two-women opera”