I hadn't heard of Giordano or his opera until I watched 'Philadelphia'. In the film, Tom Hanks character, who is dying of aids, plays the beautiful aria 'La mamma sorta' sung by Maria Callas to Denzel Washington's character; it's absolutely heart wrenching. Then, last year I watched Cardiff Singer of the Year and saw Amartuvshin Enkhbat, a 29-year-old baritone from Mongolia, sing the fabulous aria 'Nemico della patria!’ which I couldn't stop listening to! So when the opportunity to go and see the opera came through my letter box from Opera North, I jumped at the chance and I am so glad that I did.
The story set in France at the time of the French Revolution, is about the poet Chénier and the servant Gérard who both love the young aristocrat Maddalena. When Maddalena loses everything in the French Revolution, Chénier offers her protection, and Gérard, now a powerful official becomes jealous. Chénier is arrested and Gérard condemns him to death. Maddalena makes a desperate appeal to Gérard who tries to defend Chénier but sadly it is too late. Gérard helps Maddalena join Chénier in prison, and the lovers finally face the guillotine together.
Last night's production was wonderful... the singing and the orchestra were amazing... the cello in 'la mamma morta' is fabulous and worth the ticket price on its own! The two great arias were amazing... Maddalena's 'La mamma morta' and Gérard’s 'Nemico della patria!’ both are worth listening to over and over again, but the opera includes an amazing collection of dramatic duets and wonderful tenor arias and the music is simply incredible. It was brilliant stuff... if you get the chance go and see it! You can listen to three great arias on the Opera North web-site! I will be going again!!