Regular readers of My Porch will know that I love, love, love the book and film, A Room With a View. But I also love the soundrack. I first heard the aria “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Puccini’s one-act opera Gianni Schicchi in the fantastic Merchant-Ivory adaptation of A Room With a View. New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa does the honors with a beautiful translucence and purity. This video captures the magic of the film, the aria, and the performance by Te Kanawa.
One of the many great things about YouTube is the ability to listen to the same aria sung by many different singers. And what a way to while away the hours when you could be doing something more productive. “O Mio Babbino Caro” is one of those little chestnuts that most every soprano sings at some point in her career and often as an encore in a solo recital. So there is a lot to chose from.
The sound quality on this 1981 recording of Leontyne Price with the Boston Pops isn’t so good, but her high notes are flawlessly pure.
The cherubic Lucia Popp has a wonderful silvery shimmer in her voice. No actual video here, but the recording is too beautiful not to share.
Not only is Angela Gheorghiu beautiful, but her voice is lovely with lots of kick and spin that must make it thrilling in person.
Some of Anna Netrebko’s vowels on the low notes seem a little under water, but her voice has lots of beautiful color. I would love to hear her live.
This is kind of an odd, uneven performance, but there are parts of it that show some of the nicer qualities of Sumi Jo’s voice.
And how about this violin version from Joshua Bell. With all his money and talent he never seems to come up with a decent haircut.
There are tons more where these came from including train wreck versions by Callas and Battle. Long in the tooth versions by Tebaldi and Caballe. And many, many amateur versions, which I did not screen for this post.
Now that I have listened to so many different versions, I am not sure I want to hear it again for a while.