Jonas Kaufmann sings Andrea ChÃ©nier's aria 'Un dÃ¬, all'azzurro spazio' from the opera of the same name, which is available to stream from
David McVicar's spectacular, almost cinematic Royal Opera production of Umberto Giordano's gripping opera set in late 18th-century Paris, with Jonas Kaufmann, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Å½eljko LuÄiÄ‡ in the lead roles. Beautiful, historically-informed sets and costumes by Robert Jones and Jenny Tiramani evoke the profound social changes of pre- and post-revolutionary France.
Giordano's Andrea ChÃ©nier, with libretto by Puccini's regular collaborator Luigi Illica, is loosely based on the life and tragic death of the French poet AndrÃ© ChÃ©nier, who was executed during the French Revolution. The premiere on 28 March 1896 was a great success, and the opera became one of the most popular examples of the verismo (literally, 'realist') movement in Italian opera.
Giordano perfectly captures contrasting atmospheres through music including an elegant Gavotte (Act I) and the popular revolutionary songs 'La Carmagnole' and the 'Marseillaise'. Not surprisingly, the tenor protagonist gets some fine solos, including Act I's ardent aria 'Un dÃ¬, all'azzurro spazio', and Act IV's nostalgic 'Come un bel dÃ¬ di maggio'. But Maddalena and GÃ©rard also have wonderful arias: the former's impassioned 'La mamma morta', and the latter's tormented 'Nemico della patria?' as he wrestles with his conscience in Act III.
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