Music for a Monday: Je Veux Vivre (Gounod)

I seem to be in a French mood at the moment (but then, look what happens when I go into German).  Actually this is mostly because I’m looking for repertoire for my next exam, and thought it might be fun to do a little set of Shakespeare-themed songs (I already have Fear no more the heat o’the sun on my list).  This one might be a little high for me (it goes to a D, and while I got to a D flat comfortably for my last exam, I don’t know that my voice goes higher than that reliably – certainly not for so long).

But that doesn’t matter for Monday music.  I’m sharing this one basically because it is really, really cute.

This is taken from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and it’s actually filmed in Verona and on a balcony, which really is priceless, even if the singing wasn’t amazing.  Though the random blonde is a bit disconcerting.  Also, technically, the balcony (while gorgeous) shouldn’t be there for this scene, as it occurs before the ball.  But if one is trying to be iconically Romeo and Juliettish, a balcony in Verona is clearly the way to go.  And Rocío Ignacio’s voice is just lovely, and suits this piece beautifully.

Something about this waltz reminds me a lot of Sempre Libera (not the start, but once you get about 3 minutes in, you’ll see what I mean), which was written by Verdi about a decade earlier.  This isn’t in any way a complaint, incidentally – I think they are both gorgeous pieces of music.

Here’s another version of Je Veux Vivre, this one sung by Jane Powell, and obviously completely out of context, though I have no idea what the context actually is.  I really enjoy the light purity of Jane Powell’s voice – she’s a very precise singer, and one I really enjoy listening to, though her French accent is fairly awful.

If you’d like to see a version of this actually in context, here’s a recording by Angela Gheorghiu that should do the trick.  And if you prefer your Shakespearean opera with cross-dressing – and really, who doesn’t –  here’s Elina Garanca as Romeo Bellini’s version of the opera (really, everyone did a version of Romeo and Juliet, and none of them stuck to the plot – in this song, Romeo is disguised as a messenger, offering Lord Capulet Romeo’s hand in marriage for Juliet, as a replacement son after the death of Tybalt…).  How gorgeous are her low notes?  And her high notes, for that matter…

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2 thoughts on “Music for a Monday: Je Veux Vivre (Gounod)

  1. 5-tails says:

    Ah, now Elina Garanca is one of my favourite trouser-role singers. Her performances of Sesto’s Parto, parto, ma tu, ben mio… from La Clemenza di Tito are just stunning.

    (Mind you, it’s a stunning aria to start with. And a challenge – I think I told you I picked it up last year?)

    Like

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