Beautiful daughter of love

By December 25, 2016Blog, Opera

No, not me … but Maddalena. I’m dedicating today’s post to my Dad – we still miss him so much.  His love of opera was instrumental in the acquisition of my own passion for the genre. When he lived in Vienna, he was a frequent visitor to the Staatsoper and I was lucky enough to go with him whenever I was there. I was so very fortunate to have been introduced to the great operas through the very best performers and I realise, as I’ve been putting this playlist together, how influential Vienna has been in my selection of recordings.

I continued the opera-going tradition with “Little James” (as we used to call him, to avoid any confusion arising from him having the same Christian name as Dad). We were supposed to be studying, but the student way of life in Vienna is rather more relaxed than in London, so we had a lot of time for extra-curricular activities. Before heading off to the land of opera and cake, we hadn’t realised that we were going to get a grant from the EU, and so we’d already made provision for accommodation, eating etc. The arrival of a generous grant cheque was a most pleasant surprise and we spent most of it on tickets for the Staatsoper and the opera supper afterwards at Café Sirk.   Did we eke it out by paying one Euro (or was it a few schillings in those days?) for the standby standing-at-the-back tickets? No way. We did it in style with a box.

So today’s track is Chap’s favourite recording of his favourite song from his favourite opera. Bella figlia dell Amore from Verdi’s Rigoletto. This version stars Luciano Pavarotti as the Duke of Mantua, Edita Gruberova as Gilda and Ingvar Wixell as Rigoletto, but I suspect Chap’s love of this recording just might have something to do with Victoria Vergara as Maddalena. I couldn’t find this recording of the quartet as a standalone, but I did find the whole opera. The quartet starts at 1:31:00. The look on Pavarotti’s face is one of pure lust – such talent. If you just want the quartet alone, then here is a fabulous version with Pavarotti playing the duke and Joan Sutherland as Gilda. I believe that Leo Nucci and Isola Jones are playing Rigoletto and Maddalena respectively. I think Chap would have approved of the casting of Isola for the role…