The Great Opera Arias
The Great Opera Arias, a concert by I Solisti dell’Opera Lirica di Roma, is an hour-long celebration of Italian musical genius. Beloved opera arias and ensembles, standout instrumental pieces, and a Neapolitan song for good measure demonstrate the wide range of musicality and creativity that we have come to associate with the native land of Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and company. Before you dive into the musical enjoyment the string quartet, tenor and soprano have to offer at the theatre Palazzo Santa Chiara in the very heart of Rome, a small tour of the palace’s chapel allows you to take a peek at numerous refined artworks from the Italian Renaissance on. If you are so inclined, you can also purchase a drink at the venue’s cocktail bar and make the party complete.
The programme of the concert The Great Opera Arias features, as the title suggests, a number of beloved opera arias and ensembles by leading Italian composers, interspersed with thoughtfully handpicked instrumental pieces. Giacomo Puccini is well-represented with ‘Quando m’en vo’ from La Bohème, ‘E lucevan le stelle’ from Tosca, ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Gianni Schicchi, and ‘Nessun dorma’ from Turandot. Giuseppe Verdi appears with ‘Bella figlia dell’Amore’ from Rigoletto. Other operatic highlights this evening include the ‘Intermezzo’ from Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and ‘Galop’ from Wilhelm Tell by Gioachino Rossini, which do not have vocals, but even in the hands of the talented string quartet they convey the unique feel of the genre.
Excellent instrumental numbers make sure that the programme feels fresh and varied throughout the performance, allowing the singers to rest between the technically challenging and emotional arias and ensembles. Most of Antonio Vivaldi’s popular string concerto cycle The Four Season is part of the set list, with ‘Spring’, ‘Winter’ and ‘Summer’ making prominent appearances. Other instrumental works include ‘Minuetto’ by Luigi Boccherini and the Italian romance ‘Musica proibita’ by Stanislao Gastoldon. The classic Neapolitan song ‘Torna a Surriento’ by the great Ernesto De Curtis adds another mood to the evening’s colourful palette. Taken together, the individual numbers that make up The Great Opera Arias at Palazzo Santa Chiara in Rome form a cohesive, transporting performance that is well worth the attention of classical music connoisseurs.