In opera, anyway, the love interest in most librettos usually involves the TENOR and the SOPRANO. (Note, I am a mezzo, but in the words of the great German poet Heine, truly, Ich grolle nicht*) (Heard here with Eberhard Wächter)
Now, rest assured The Tenor is often charming, persuasive, tenacious and irresistible. And jealous, unfaithful, murderous, lecherous and hot-tempered. What’s not to love?
Let us consider that American Navy character, Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, who found his way into the Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly. (Local interest alert: The original play that the Madama Butterfly libretto is based was the work of Philadelphia lawyer, John Luther Long. More here.)
It just so happens that Love with a Twist features our tenor and friend, Richard Troxell, who got an early break on his international career when he was cast as B.F. Pinkerton in Frédéric Mitterrand’s 1995 movie, Madame Butterfly (Highly recommended!) Here is a stunning clip of the big love duet with Richard and his beautiful co-star, Ying Huang. You will be charmed by the two young lovers! You will be chilled by the foreshadowing! Richard, I mean Pinkerton, looks so sincere, so believable. Well, I hate to be a kill-joy, but we all know how this ends…
Tenors! But since we do love to hear them sing, and we especially love Richard, we’ve asked him to sing, among many other vocal delights, Pinkerton’s aria, Amore o grillo
(heard here with Richard Tucker).
Is it love or fancy, I cannot tell you.
All that I know is, she, with her innocent charm, has entranced me.
Almost transparently fragile and slender, dainty in stature, quaint little figure,
Seems to have stepped down straight from a screen.
But from her background of varnish and lacquer,
Suddenly light as a feather she flutters,
And like a butterfly, hovers and settles,
With so much charm, such seductive graces,
That to rush after her a wild wish seized me
Though in the quest her frail wings should be broken.
He’ll also sing the tender heart-break aria, Le rêve (heard here with Jussi Björling) from Manon of Massenet and the exultant Zueignung (heard here with Fritz Wunderlich) of Strauss. More tenor heart-breaks await you at the concert!
*I bear no grudge