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Per piacere alla signora

Opera details:

Opera title:

Il Turco in Italia


Giaochino Rossini




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Il Turco in Italia Libretto



Duet details:




Fiorilla / Don Geronio


Soprano / Bass



Previous scene: Un vecchio far non puo maggior follia
Next scene: No mia vita mio tesoro

Gioachino Rossini - Il turco in Italia (1814) - "Per piacere alla signora" (Bruno Pratico & Eva Mei)

Singer: Eva Mei

A singer can spend years developing and perfecting his/her technique and musicality, a singer can be fluent in several languages, a singer can be a perfect dramatical actor/actress, yet, in my experience, a singer who is able to sing idiomatically in a specific country's musical language is a truly rare case. In general (and there are quite a number of exceptions), as I have discovered during listening to various musical styles, the safest bet is to stick with the native speakers of the country where the music was written, as they can present the listener with qualities that can be absent in foreigners' versions of the music.

The present duet from Rossini's sequel to "L'italiana in Algeri" is one of the composer's more openly dramatic (as Callas so winningly proved in her recording of a reasonably complete version of the score), as the heroine, Fiorilla, basically fools her justly jealous husband into submission. It follows a typical three-part structure: an opening allegro with the couple exchanging insults is akin to a prolonged crescendo, as the patter of the bass is mixed with the soprano's ever complex ornaments; the tempo di mezzo prepares a shift to a minor mood, as Fiorilla begins to simulate melodramatic sadness which is even more developed in a falsely sincere andante, culminating in a comic duettino where the soprano, accompanied by pizzicato strings and audibly showing signs of tears, reduces Geronio to some sort of sympathy (almost making her various acts of infidelity plausible); finally, after a tempo di mezzo which uses material from the opening allegro, as Fiorilla, now reasonably certain of her husband's weakness, begins her attack on Geronio, culminating in a enchantingly fresh cabaletta where the heroine asserts her power and the poor sap acclaims that his wife is mad as a hatter.

The present version comes from the joint project of Eva Mei and Bruno Pratico, "Buffo Arias & Duets", which has been recorded in 2001 under the direction of Marcello Viotti (in fact, only the orchestra is not strictly Italian, the Munich Radio Orchestra). There is a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that makes their rendition truly special. Of course, light, lyric voices, well-versed in the belcanto tradition; sensible conducting; clear orchestral playing are virtues that can be found in other renditions. But the way the duo relishes each word, clearly understanding the text's meaning and dramatic changes; the way they interact with each other, the orchestra and the conductor is truly rare, even in the best known versions; thus, I could not resist the opportunity to post their rendition of the present duet.

Hope you'll enjoy :).

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Full libretto Il Turco in Italia

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