The Beautiful Singing of 'I Puritani' is your Met Radio Broadcast

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Diana Damrau as Elvira and Luca Pisaroni as Giorgio in Bellini's 'I Puritani' Diana Damrau as Elvira and Luca Pisaroni as Giorgio in Bellini's 'I Puritani' (Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

Since its 1835 premiere, I Puritani has been a smashing success. Audiences loved it from the jump, and it earned Bellini the Legion of Honor from Queen Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily. Now you can experience the beautiful joy with the Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast, this Saturday at 1 pm.

Some critics have found the plot of Bellini’s tale of passion and fidelity during the English Civil War to be a bit convoluted and melodramatic. In fact, in this week’s episode of He Sang, She Sang, Metropolitan Opera director Sarah Meyers calls the story “the bane of my existence.” But, it works, thanks to the beautiful singing throughout — literally. I Puritani is a hallmark example of the bel canto (Italian for “beautiful singing”) style of opera. These operas utilize a ceaseless array of demanding vocal techniques and ornamentation to turn the voice into a gilt instrument of its own. 

The fact that Bellini can make musical gold out of the ill-conceived plot is a testament to his masterful skill as a composer. The singing is so gorgeous that one could hear it performed in concert and be filled with the same wondrous feeling. There aren’t many individual solos either, which allows the listener to instead focus on the smart interaction betwen the talented voices.

Vincenzo Bellini died at the young age of 33, nine months after the premiere of I Puritani. But the people recognized his crowning achievement at such, and so his death came at the height of his popularity, and he remained a source of inspiration for future composers. Chopin loved his music, and requested to hear a Bellini aria on his deathbed; Wagner also was a fan.

To learn more about the opera, and to hear an exclusive interview with bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni (Giorgio), be sure to check out this week’s episode of the He Sang, She Sang podcast.

Cast

Conductor: Maurizio Benini

Elvira: Diana Damrau

Arturo: Javier Camarena

Riccardo: Alexey Markov

Giorgio: Luca Pisaroni

Comments [6]

Nightstar from NYC

I took first act as a little bit bore. Last one was just Fantastic! Damrau a little bit overact on stage, still she has beautiful voice, soft and colorful. Right voice for Elvira. Blend of voices into music in last act smooth and fine. I did not like this opera when first time I listened it a few years ago. Now last act got me.

Mar. 08 2017 10:21 PM
CastaDiva from New York, NY

"There aren’t many individual solos either---" Really? Then what is Act 3 all about?

Feb. 18 2017 04:58 PM

I'm turning it off too, not because of the opera, great score, I can't stand Diana Damrau's singing, pure filth.

Feb. 18 2017 03:21 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

@Uncle Charlie, I still think it is a dog. Sorry, did not mean to offend anyone. Listened up to now in order to give it a chance but had to turn it off. Also, the story line was giving me a headache. Bellini wrote gorgeous music but not this one.
Best wishes

Feb. 18 2017 02:31 PM

hi Concetta, I thought you called "Puritani" a dog not too long ago lol. Anyway, Damrau sounds awful already, under pitch and out of tune. Thank heavens for Camarena.

Feb. 18 2017 01:36 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Siegfried Rhine Journey very much has a Bellini influence.
The finale of Norma and Magic Fire Music blend into each other,
Bellini was holy water.
What marvelous music he wrote.

Feb. 18 2017 07:15 AM

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