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Claudia, The Opera Critic
age: 12 years

E Lucevan Le Stelle.  And The Stars Were Shining.
Sung by the tenor, Luciano Pavarotti


This aria is from the opera Tosca by composer Giacomo Puccini.  It was first performed in Rome in 1899.  The story takes place in Rome.  'Tosca' is the name of the leading lady in the story.

This aria is sung in the final part of the opera by the character called Mario Cavaradossi.  He is an artist and in love with Tosca.  A powerful man called Baron Scarpia has accused the artist of being his enemy and has locked him in the prison called il Castel Sant'Angelo

The poor artist is told that he will be executed in one hour's time.  Whilst he is imprisoned on the top floor of il Castel Sant' Angelo, he looks up at the night sky.  He sees the shining stars and he sings this famous and powerful aria of farewell to the world and to Tosca, the woman he loves. 

The last part of the aria is as follows:

Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d'amore.    My dream of love has gone away forever.
L'ora è fuggita, e muoio disperato!   The moment has vanished and I die in desperation!
E muoio disperato!  And I die in desperation!
E non ho amato mai tanto la vita.   And I have never loved life so much as I do now.



The Opinion of Claudia:

What a powerful piece of music!  Both the words and the music are powerful.  I cannot imagine being in a worse situation.  Mario is looking at the beautiful natural world and the universe around him and he knows that he is seeing it for the last time ever.   All the beautiful things such as nature and Tosca are about to disappear.

I think that the music stays slow throughout the piece but its volume changes from very quiet to very loud.  Although the volume changes, the mood is always the same - very sombre.   The clarinet makes it sound solemn from the very beginning as it has a dull and plain sound.


The tenor makes his voice tremble because he is scared.  Poor artist!  It is so unfair!  He has done nothing wrong!  Now I understand the meaning of the word tragedy because the sound of this aria makes me want to cry.

In my opinion, the tenor sings in a calm but powerful way.  I am amazed by the strength and control of his voice.  It would be impossible not to stand up and shout Bravissimo!  In fact, I don't think I would ever want to stop letting this tenor know how impressed I am by his talent.   
Signor Pavarotti is just troppo bravo - too good.  



Back to the Italian Opera Page

Related link:  a story about il Castel Sant'Angelo

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