• Aida


    Rosa Ponselle as Aida


    Ponselle sung Aida for the first time in 1921, still very young. Everything was positive at the beginning, with the audience, the critics and the singer all quite happy with her performance of the role.

    However, her very first Aida evening, Ponselle had a small issue with the C5 in "O Patria Mia". This issue was growing constantly in her mind, and little by little she started to fear the role, and in the end she was just in panic, just thinking about singing Aida again. The last time she performed the nubian slave in the MET, was in 1924.

    In her youth days, Aida was a dream role for Ponselle (later on, she would need to transpose down some of the part). Arguably, she has been the best Aida on record, but her fearings could not be alleviated, and just extended to the rest of her repertoire:

    "When I debuted Leonora from Trovatore (1924), I didn't have any problem at all, but later I grew uncomfortable singing 'D'amor sull'alli rosee', perhaps due to my problems with the C5 in 'O Patria mia'. So, I transposed down the aria just a semitone, and everything was perfect again. However, the high E-flat at the end of the First Act, was never an issue. It's the way you approach the top note, where is all the difference. In 'O Patria mia', is totally exposed, lying just in the center of a long phrase in a high tessiture... and you are alone: no duets, no choirs, almost no orchestra...."

    Let's listen to some examples of the wonderful Aida sung by Rosa Ponselle:

    O Patria Mia

    Ritorna Vincitor

    Pur ti riveggo (with Giovanni Martinelli)

    La Fatal Pietra (with Giovanni Martinelli)


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