Other Italian Composers
Other great works of art at this time by lesser known Italian composers include Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda (1876), based on a play by Victor Hugo (Angelo, Tyrant of Padua). We are including the tenor aria, “Cielo e mar.”
Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (1890) is a one act gem. First, we would like to share with you the concert version of the Intermezzo, performed by what looks to be a Chinese student orchestra. A truly amazing performance.
The next two pieces of music we are including (from the same opera) are the choral masterpiece “Regina caeli (coeli) laetare” and the tenor aria “O lola.”
Ruggero (or Ruggiero) Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (1892) is another classic; and it contains the baritone’s “Prologue” and the tenor’s famous “Vesti la Guibba.”
Next, we come to Alfredo Catalani’s La Wally (1892), with its divine “Ebben? Neandro lontana.” It is no wonder that Arturo Toscanini was so passionate about Catalani’s music. We have heard many soprano’s sing this aria; however, our favorite is the performance given by Wilhelmenia Fernandez on the soundtrack of the French thriller, Diva (1981):