This week's work is from Verdi's opera, Otello
. Verdi's "Ave Maria", unlike the "Ave Maria"'s made famous by Bach
and Schubert, has a deeper, richer and more lyrical quality. Verdi's opera music, especially toward the end of his career, was known to contribute to the drama, never to outshine it. The "Ave Maria" is a prime example of this. Sung by the character Desdemonda in her final hour, the "Ave Maria" is a prayer for peace from a world turned upside down by her jealous lover, Otello. Its opening bars are quiet and breath-like, conveying Desdemonda's desperation; slowly growing into a great plea, before ending with a simple, exasperated "Amen."
I've listened to several version's of Verdi's "Ave Maria," but the one I come back to most, is Renee Fleming's performance on the Ultimate Diva's Album. As I said before, she sings with absolute conviction and clarity. If I let myself, tears can come by pretty easy. She does a fantastic job.
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