“Non ti voglio amar?”

Francesco Cilea, "Non ti voglio amar?"
Katherine DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; Enrique Mazzola, piano

The five operas of Francesco Cilea (1866-1950) don't get much attention on major stages today, with the exception of Adriana Lecouvreur (revived whenever a particularly glamorous, vocally stylish star soprano is around to sing it). We should never forget that Cilea was intensely devoted to singers and wrote with notable beauty, grace, and intelligence for the voice. A typical instance is one of his many captivating songs, "Non ti voglio amar?" ("I don't want to love you?"). This came from a composer only 24 years old, just starting to get his career going a year after finishing his studies at the Naples Conservatory.

In this song, a young woman—totally confident in her own attractiveness—wonders how her young man could possibly not want to love her. After all, he feels a shock of excitement at her touch, and he's always standing in the street gazing at her. If she looked at him and said just one word, would he still say, "I don't want to love you?" She expresses all this through a marvelously flowing andante sostenuto vocal line, beginning in a conversational manner but then, in the second half of the song, expanding into legato phrasing that offers a wonderful opportunity for displaying all the tonal warmth at a singer's command.

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*** 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