By Burton D. Fisher
Giordano's ANDREA CHENIER, that includes crucial Characters, short tale Synopsis, tale Narrative with song spotlight Examples, and a entire and insightful research and observation.
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Additional resources for Andrea Chenier (Opera Journeys Mini Guide)
In Andrea Chénier, Giordano ingeniously captures the spirit of the Revolution through subtle though realistic musical touches: in Act II the “Ah, ça ira” accompanies the cart of prisoners headed for the Andrea Chénier Page 31 guillotine; in Act III, the “Carmagnole” is heard from the crowd outside as Mathieu sweeps the Tribunal hall; and in Act IV, “La marseillaise” is hummed by Mathieu during the interval between Chénier’s farewell aria, “Come un bel di di maggio,” and the arrival of Gérard and Maddalena into the prison.
Those heroic signature arias, “Un di all’azzuro spazio,” “Si fui soldato” and “Come un bel dì di maggio,” each expresses the heroic agony of the poet, his courage against insurmountable villainy and injustice. The central characters in the opera are the idealistic poet Chénier, the despairing ex-aristocrat Maddalena de Coigny, and the vengeful ex-servant turned revolutionary, Carlo Gérard. Essentially, the story portrays the love of Chénier and Maddalena set against reversals of fortune caused by the transitions set into motion by the Revolution.
As a leader of the Revolution, he has sent the secret police to find her (the spy, the Incredibile); power now belongs to the formerly powerless. Maddalena indeed comes to Gérard and confronts him with an appeal to save her beloved Chénier. Gérard, exulting in his triumph, explodes into a Scarpia-like assault on Maddalena. But Maddalena, the intended victim, becomes the victor after Gérard realizes the intensity of her love for Chénier; he is overcome by profound compassion. Gérard’s inner soul transforms from lechery, and he heroically vows to use all of his powers to save Chénier from the guillotine, the man he earlier falsely accused.