Remembering Joe Green: Giuseppe Verdi Turns 200
By: Brad Kronen
SELECTION I: "LA DONNA E MOBILE" FROM VERDI'S RIGOLETTO
I figure we should start with the most popular, toe tapping of ditties which Verdi wrote that everyone and their mother can hum in their sleep, but don't realize it was penned by the Maestro, due to first hearing it on The Flintstones, or Tom & Jerry, etc.
People also mistakenly think the ditty is a fun loving tune sung by an even more fun, super lovable guy.
"La Donna E Mobile", when translated politely roughly means "The Woman is fickle." and in street Italian means, I won't even go there. The most well loved tenor aria of all time is from Verdi's masterpiece "Rigoletto". It's the anthem of the chauvinistic pig who (keeping things polite) loves 'em and leaves 'em, and is sung by the character considered to be the Lord King Chauvinist of Pigs, the Duke of Mantua.
I've chosen one of my all time favorite tenors singing the Duke, the incomparable, Alfredo Kraus. Kraus was a firm believer in singing one's "fach" or roles for one's voice type, and he professionally sang on stage until just a few months before his death at age 71. With the Maestro's birth taking place in Parma, where better to start the singing than from the Teatro Regio di Parma? Note, the piece is only 2 minutes 9 seconds, but the youtube clip is nearly 5 minutes, due to the then 60 year old Kraus holding the high C last note for about 10 years, and the Italians from Verdi’s home turf scream applauding for even longer.
When the Italians love you, they let you know (even more so when they don't).