“Sole e amore”

Giacomo Puccini, "Sole e amore"
Katherine DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; Enrique Mazzola, piano

Puccini produced "Sole e amore" ("Sun and love") in 1888, subsequently giving it new life eight years later by incorporating it into La bohème. It was adapted as the music shared by the lovers, Mimì and Rodolfo, that launches the first half of their quartet with Musetta and Marcello. Surprisingly, in the song Puccini doesn't actually give the singer the climactic final phrase that he gives the Bohème pair—he assigns those notes to the piano part, but played comparatively softly rather than at forte.

The score identifies the author of this text as "Anonymous," but it's presumed that it was written by the composer himself. "Love is tapping joyfully at your windows," says the singer, "and softly at your heart." The sun is begging the sleeper to rise and show herself, since she's so beautiful. Love urges her to make her first thought for the man who loves her.

There's a delightful footnote to the song, which first appeared in the musical supplement of Paganini magazine. It happened that the publisher, Camilio Sivori, had studied violin with Paganini himself. With this in mind, Puccini gave the song a dedication to Paganini in the final phrase— repeating the song's opening notes— he set it on the words, "Al Paganini, G. Puccini."

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