With a chamber performance of some of the most well-known Romantic arias and duets, Opera e Lirica honours some of the greatest Romantic composers with its “Concerto d’Opera”. A tenor and a soprano, backed up by a string quartet and a grand piano, lead the performance at the Oratorio del Caravita in the centre of Rome. The incomparable melodies of Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky take on a distinct dimension in this minimalist arrangement. It is an evening of classical music and emotion like few others.
Pietro Mascagni's ‘Interlude’ from his celebrated opera vera Cavalleria rusticana opens the programme. With the arias ‘Sempre libera’ and ‘De’ miei bollenti spiriti’ from Verdi's La Traviata, the singers get their first chance to shine. The orchestra takes over once more for Amilcare Ponchielli's ‘La danza delle ore’. With two arias and a duet from La Bohème, Puccini makes his first appearance on the programme next, letting the soloists demonstrate their talents and rapport. Part one is concluded with ‘Preludio’ and ‘Parigi o cara’ from Verdi's La Traviata.
Jules Massenet's ‘Meditation’ from Thais serves as the instrumental introduction to part two. The next two numbers are taken from Giacomo Puccini's masterwork of verismo, Tosca. Before the soprano returns for ‘Un bel di, vedremo’, the melancholy aria of Cio Cio San from Madama Butterfly, another classic by Puccini, Tchaikovsky's ‘The Waltz of the Flowers’ gives the vocalists a break and once again highlights the instrumental gift of the backing ensemble. The mood is lifted with ‘La donna è mobile’ from Rigoletto by Verdi, and the high spirit is maintained thanks to Gioachino Rossini’s ‘La Danza’, a Neapolitan tarantella with a fiery rhythm. The evening's stellar closing piece, Verdi’s calling-card chorus ‘Libiamo ne' lieti calici’ from La Traviata, commonly known as ‘Brindisi’, ends the performance on a high note.
Rome’s artistic collective Opera e Lirica specialises in opera homages that are scaled down in terms of numbers but just as effective, if not even more charming, than classic stage productions. “Concerto d’Opera” is no exception and fills the Oratorio del Caravita with the genius of the Romantics.