The most beautiful song ever written

It is O mio babbino caro, of course, which comes in the middle of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, around the twenty-one minute and thirty-second minute mark in the full production above. You will know the song without any doubt, but if you haven’t seen the opera you have no idea what it’s about. This is, as it happens, also the greatest one-act opera ever written. We saw it last night with another one-act opera, but when paired, it is alway the one to come last. Anything else is guaranteed to seem flat if it comes after. Treat yourself to one of the most exquisite moments anywhere in the arts and watch the whole thing (in Italian but with English subtitles), but if you haven’t the time, just go to minute twenty-one.

But I have to say that while the Glynebourne cast is better, the singing is not as good and the production not as electric. This one from the Paris Opera is also in Italian but comes with French subtitles. The song itself comes at around the twenty-second minute mark.

But for the song on its own, there is nothing quite like the moment when this nine year old wins Holland’s Got Talent in 2013. It was an astonishing moment and went round the world in a day.

Oh My Dear Sweet Papa

How much I love this song cannot be estimated. I had known it all my life but only found out where it was from by going to a presentation of Puccini’s Il Trittico of which this is from the third and last of the one act operas – Gianni Schicchi – where in this song (I am going from memory here) the daughter of the house is asking her father to risk his life so that she can have a dowry to marry her beau. O mio babbino caro – Oh My Dear Sweet Papa – please get into that bed, pretend you are the deceased and get the notary to certify the will that you relate to him of the wealthy man who has just died. If you succeed, we get his money. If you are found out, they will take you out and boil you in oil. All ends happily but the song has heavy freight of both enormous risk and unspeakable fraud. But this nine year old singing it is unbelievable.

From Andrew Bolt.