Mozart’s The Magic Flute (German) and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Italian) are my two favorite operas of all time and contain my favorite arias. So, when it comes to my favorite operatic love song, the award goes to “Un Bel dì Vedremo” (One Fine Day We’ll See) from Act 2 of Madama Butterfly, sung by the most phenomenal soprano of all time IMHO, Leontyne Price, in the 1960s.
I fell hard for the song the moment I heard it back in 2001, before even knowing what it was about. Ms. Price’s voice was as clear as a bell and so rich with emotions — hope, adoration, devotion, warmth, and intimacy — that I wasn’t surprised to find it was indeed about love, Japanese wife Cio Cio (Butterfly) waiting for her beloved American husband to return from across the ocean (he’d been gone, like, three years!).
Many sopranos have sung the part of Butterfly on stage — the amazing Maria Callas among them — but there is just something about celebrated American soprano Price’s vocal performance that moves me more than the others.
The Atlanta Opera is going to be doing Madama Butterfly at an awesome venue near my neighborhood next year. I’ll finally get to see the production on stage. Until then, my CD set will more than suffice. 🙂
(You can read the English lyrics HERE.)
Something extra: The very end of the opera, where an abandoned, broken Butterfly commits suicide for her child’s sake, always gets me, gawww. *sniffles* Ms. Price sings “Tu? Tu? Piccolo iddio!” (You! You! little god!) from Butterfly’s final moments, in this video from a 1976 recital of her arias. Gives me the cold chills. So. Good.
(Please start at minute 5:41 ↓ YouTube doesn’t seem to want to start there for me, ugh.)
(English lyrics are here.)
READ: The Bee Writes, Love Is In Da Blog 25 — My favorite love song from an opera