The Portrait of Donizetti’s Aria UN DI ALL AZZURRO SPAZIO

Read Interesting facts and hear great YouTube Videos about the famous Aria “UN DI ALL AZZURRO SPAZIO”.



If you want to hear more about the opera Andrea Chenier, click on the link to the opera portrait



The Aria – Synopsis & Background


The aria begins with the orchestra in pianissimo. Chenier enters dolcissimo with a lyrical melody. More and more the aria turns into a monologue with a small tonal range:

Un di all azzurro, aria

The orchestra becomes more and more colorful and intense. The tenor must maintain the tension with great creative power during the monologue.


The Aria – the text of UN DI ALL AZZURRO SPAZIO


Un dì all’azzurro spazio 
guardai profondo, 
e ai prati colmi di viole, 
pioveva l’oro il sole, 
e folgorava d’oro il mondo:
parea la terra un immane tesor, 
e a lei serviva di scrigno il firmamento. 
Su dalla terra a la mia fronte 
veniva una carezza viva, un bacio. 
Gridai vinto d’amor:
T’amo tu che mi baci, 
divinamente bella, o patria mia! 
E volli pien d’amore pregar! 
Varcai d’una chiesa la soglia; 
là un prete ne le nicchie 
dei santi e della Vergine, 
accumulava doni –
e al sordo orecchio 
un tremulo vegliardo 
invan chiedeva pane 
e invano stendea la mano!

Varcai degli abituri l’uscio; 
un uom vi calunniava 
bestemmiando il suolo 
che l’erario a pena sazia 
e contro a Dio scagliava 
e contro agli uomini 
le lagrime dei figli.

In cotanta miseria
la patrizia prole che fa?

Sol l’occhio vostro 
esprime umanamente qui 
un guardo di pietà, 
ond’io guardato ho a voi 
sì come a un angelo.
E dissi: Ecco la bellezza della vita! 
Ma, poi, a le vostre parole, 
un novello dolor m’ha colto in pieno petto.

O giovinetta bella, 
d’un poeta non disprezzate il detto:
Udite! Non conoscete amor,
amor, divino dono, non lo schernir, 
del mondo anima e vita è l’Amor!




Vocal Fach «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 UN DI ALL AZZURRO SPAZIO


Let’s start with Luciano Pavarotti’s interpretation . Before we get to the aria I would like to tell you a little anecdote about him and this aria, which I found in a book by Clemens Untereimer (Ein Bariton für alle Fälle). “I noticed that  Pavarotti leaned in the first act on a small table with all his weight . He couldn’t stand that long, so he was happy to rest a bit. During the break I secretly took a look at the underside of the table – I was curious how the rather fragile looking table could withstand this tenor strain. I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to grin inevitably: On the underside of the table there was a piece of paper with the note “Attention, reinforce with Pavarotti”.

Andrea Chenier is one of Pavarotti’s key roles. His inerpretation is in a lyrical, warm tone. This dramatic role was not easy for a lyrical tenor like Pavarotti, and he only sang it for the first time at the age of 41.

Un di all azzuro (1)  –  Pavarotti / Chailly


The next one, by Enrico Caruso. It is very lyrical and sonorous, simply perfect.

Un di all azzurro (2)  –  Caruso


The third is vocally more powerful, it is sung by Mario del Monaco.  He was one of the great tenors of the fifties and often a partner of Maria Callas. The opinions on Mario del Monaco’s singing art are divided into two camps.  Del Monaco sings constantly in Forte, which can fatigue the listener, some people then called it «monotonous, brutal singing» or as his fans call it, the voice of a virile tenor who can impress the opera house. Also listen to a sample of del Monaco’s impressive organ in the blog «Die Walküren». Del Monaco’s attempt in early years with a singing teacher «to acquire a good piano and a mezza voce led to a serious vocal crisis, and the young tenor drew for himself the consequence of not relying anymore to singing teachers and to trust his talent for loud singing». (Fischer, grosse Stimmen). However, Chenier is certainly one of his best recordings, see for yourself if you like the voice.

Un di all azzurro (3)  –  delMonaco


Something similar can be said about Franco Corelli, the famous contemporary of del Monaco. Fischer (grosse Stimmen): «His squillo seemed to cut through steel doors…One will wait in vain for subtle effects, for valeurs and shades, as the tenor of the victorious high-altitude beam and steel, he has hardly any equal». As with del Monaco, Andrea Chenier was one of his best roles. Kesting (great singer) commented on his Andrea Chenier recording: «Even in the complete recording under Santini, Corelli’s singing is not free of mistakes, and yet there is a kind of Errol Flynn on stage, a bold poser». Judge for yourself.

Un di all azzurro (4)  –  Corelli/Santini

Die nächste Aufnahme ist von Jonas Kaufmann. 2015 hat er diese Rolle zum ersten gesungen und ein fulminantes Debut gezeigt. Seine dunkle, intensive Stimme passt gut zu dieser Rolle und speziell im deklamatorischen Teil (zB 3.03, un uom vi calunniava bestemmiando il suolo) überzeugt er. Hören und sehen Sie ihn in einer TV Produktion der Wiener Staatsoper.

Un di all azzurro (5)  –  Kaufmann





Peter Lutz, opera-inside, the online opera guide to the Aria “UN DI ALL AZZURRO SPAZIO” from the opera Andrea Chénier.


2 replies
  1. Zahdria
    Zahdria says:

    This was certainly not one of Pavarotti’s great roles. He sounds strained, on his Bb4 notes. Corelli is the best Andrea Chenier. He certainly does have the required nuance of a poet, but he also has the strength of the warrior, revolutionary poet. He is really the most perfect combination for an ideal Adrea Chenier. What mistakes? It is interesting how you mentioned mistakes, but you cannot point out what those mistakes are, it sounds like an opinion copied from someone else. This is verismo, not bel canto.
    Kaufman can certainly act the part, but his voice simply doesn’t have the required brilliance for the Italian Spinto repertoire.
    Del Monaco was great in the role, but he was only the warrior. There is very little of the poet in his interpretation.


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