Verdi, Giuseppe: Un giorno di regno
Act 1: Recitative, Cavatina and Cabaletta, “Ah! Non m’hanno ingannata!…Grave a core innamorato…Se dee cader la vedova” (Marchesa del Poggio)
Aria Talk •
Editor's Note: Aria Talk focuses not on the tried-and-true pieces you undoubtedly already know, but on somewhat off-the-beaten-track arias. The hope is that this music will prove a refreshing musical and interpretive change not only for you, the performer, but also for those hearing you in auditions.
Verdi’s failure with Un giorno di regno (1840) kept him away from comedy until Falstaff 53 years later. Don’t write Giorno off, though, especially as regards the principal female roles, the tessituras of which both sopranos and high mezzos can handle. The Marchesa — whose music (see below) has been splendidly recorded by a Gilda, an Aida, and an Amneris! — suits a sizable, full-bodied soprano voice with an especially warm lower-middle register. Having been enlisted by the Polish king to impersonate him, the French cavalier Belfiore arrives at the Baron Decemberof
Kelbar’s castle, where he is to witness a double wedding. One of the brides-to-be is the Marchesa who, believing herself jilted by Belfiore, plans to marry old Count Ivrea. Belfiore, however, still loves the Marchesa and is upset at the thought of losing her. She recognizes him and, once she is alone, admits in her cavatina that her love can’t be concealed. Her lively cabaletta asserts that becoming a wealthy widow doesn’t interest her; she wants only Belfiore but if he’s proven faithless, she’ll never love again.
This scena‘s overall scale subjects the voice to much less pressure than the spinto roles of Verdi’s later career. The cavatina’s gracefully decorated line requires elegance and intimacy, while the flexibility and trills required there, as well as in the jaunty cabaletta, need panache and a real sense of enjoyment. If you can also project the aura of a charming but very determined woman, the Marchesa should be a terrific choice for you.
Recording: Lina Pagliughi in complete recording, Warner Fonit Cetra #857 3826642; Fiorenza Cossotto in complete recording, Philip #4224292; Montserrat Caballé in Rossini/ Donizetti/Verdi recital, RCA #09026 60941-2 (may be unavailable)
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