Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Andrea Chénier

Giordano's opera Andrea Chénier is based upon the life of the young poet who heartily embraced the French Revolution only to be destroyed by it. It is the most famous of the several operas composed by Giordano and is still part of the repertoire of many opera companies. The opera, in four acts, captures in its vibrant score, as well as in the libretto by Illica, the idealism which ignited many sincere intellectuals to join the Revolution. The idealism rapidly spirals into horror and despair as lives are ruined and France is destroyed. The character of Chénier, however, finds redemption in the sacrifice of his own life for another prisoner, similar to the ending of A Tale of Two Cities. Maddalena, the woman he loves, also gives her life for another, and the gesture removes from her the bitterness of dying. In the final duet, the Chénier and Maddalena rejoice at their dual sacrifice, glad that they are able to seal their love by dying courageously and well. As Maddalena sings:

I am here so that I may never leave you. This is not a farewell!
I have come to die with you! The suffering has ended.

I seek death, loving you!

Ah, the one who received the last words from my lips is he...Love!


No comments: