Puccini’s “La Bohème”: The Love Duet, “O Soave Fanciulla”

The duet, O soave fanciulla (“O gentle maiden”) is heard in the closing moments of the first Act of Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera, La Bohème. It is in this moment that the struggling poet, Rodolfo, and the seamstress, Mimì, realize that they have fallen in love with one another. The opera’s love leitmotif emerges as they sing in unison, A! tu sol comandi, amor! The leitmotif is heard earlier in Act I in Rodolfo’s aria, Che gelida …

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Puccini’s Turandot: Five Key Moments

In Wednesday’s post, we heard a few examples of Puccini’s flirtations with impressionism. Puccini’s final opera, Turandot is filled with colorful orchestration and adventurous harmony which evokes the exotic atmosphere of the mythic story: Princess Turandot, determined to never marry, takes revenge on her suitors through a series of riddles. Failure to answer correctly results in the suitor’s execution. Here are five key moments from the opera: Signore, ascolta!  Calaf, the young Prince of Tartary, catches sight of …

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A La Bohème Masterclass

Opera, with its rich blend of music, drama and staging, is one of the most complex art forms on the planet. If you’ve ever been curious about the myriad of subtle details that singers encounter as they bring an opera scene to life, watch the clip below from a young artists’ workshop at London’s Royal Opera House. Conductor Sir Mark Elder coaches soprano Susana Gaspar and tenor Michel de Souza in Marcello and Mimì’s duet …

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