“E l’uccellino”

Giacomo Puccini, "E l'uccellino"
Leroy Davis, baritone; Chris Reynolds, piano

Puccini was in his prime as a creative artist in 1899—three years after La bohème—when, in a notable change of pace, he composed the charming "E l'uccellino" ("And the little bird"). So many salon songs are dedicated to a special friend of the composer, but surely no dedicatee of an Italian song has been younger than a little boy named Memmo Lippi. He was the son of Guglielmo Lippi, a dear friend of Puccini, who died quite young. "E l'uccellino" is identified by Puccini as a "ninna-nanna" ("lullaby"). It's a sweetly buoyant melody, with a relaxed, rather cheery quality about it. That's prominently indicated in the accompaniment, in contrast to the gentle legato of the melodic line itself.

The bird on the branch is singing to a baby. He asks the baby to rest its head on its mother's heart, but adds, "If you want to know how much I love you, no one in the world can tell you!"

Meet the artists

*** Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

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About the Ryan Opera Center

About the Ryan Opera Center

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center is Lyric's preeminent artist-development program that nurtures the talents of some of the most promising operatic singers and pianists of each generation. The program's Ensemble members earn their coveted spot by successfully auditioning among more than 400 artists worldwide. Its alumni are among the dominant names in opera today. Donor generosity ensures continued unparalleled training, performance experience, and professional readiness of Ensemble members. This highly competitive program, established in 1974, is honored to enjoy the support of acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming as Advisor, along with full-time staff Director Dan Novak, Music Director Craig Terry, and Director of Vocal Studies Julia Faulkner.

Photos: Kyle Flubacker