Puccini, still unknown

La Cieca doesn’t want to get all pedantic here, but she does want to point out that the phrase Mirella Freni sang at the end of her rambling monologue at the Volpe gala was not from Act 3 of La boheme. Or rather, the musical phrase reappears in the opera, but the version Freni sang was obviously meant as the tag of her scheduled encore, “Sole e amore.” This number is a parlor song written by Puccini in 1888, and he recycled the main melody later for “Addio dolce svegaliare.” “Sole e amore” is one of the songs that Michael Kaye collected and edited back in around 1990 for a book called The Unknown Puccini. The last phrases of the song are set to the words, “Al Paganini — G. Puccini.” It’s a whimsical touch, to set the signature of the song, and apparently Freni’s version of “Sole e amore” was meant to end with a dedication to the retiring General Manager, “To Joe Volpe, from Mirella.”

From the tenorissimo.com site, here’s a clip of Placido Domingo singing the song.

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