Auber : Gustave III (Le Bal Masque)Metz, 2003 (Audio)
Director: Jacques Mercier
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Most lovers of opera will be able to recognize Riccardo's canzone, "Di' tu se fedele", from Verdi's take on the murder of Gustave III. In a much earlier upload I already mentioned numerous versions on the story, including Auber's grand opera. It's actually quite interesting to know that Verdi's opera follows a libretto that is a direct translation of the same libretto Auber used. This doesn't just affect the words but even the structure of the operas. Except for the lack of a duet for Riccardo and Renato and the transference of a duet for Renato and Amelia into two separate arias, Verdi's opera is structurally almost identical to Auber's. Moreover, even arias and ensembles are affected by this: "Di' tu se fedele", Oscar's two arias are all couplets, rather unusual for Italian opera. This makes for quite a bit of possible comparisons.
We have already done Oscar's second aria, now it's time for Riccardo's or rather Gustave's appeal to Ulrica. I actually find Auber's version a bit more close to Gustave's sunny character. It's a fairly typical set of couplets, except for several striking features: in particular, there are three repetitions of the couplets, the last one - with the participation of the chorus; moreover, the role of Gustave is literally full of extreme high notes in contrast too Riccardo's more lyrical sound; finally, the melody is contagious, I'm still prone to humming it whenever I find myself in an especially happy mood.
Here we get the delightful tenor Laurence Dale.
Cecile de Boever