O Del Mio Dolce Ardor Analysis Essay

“O del mio dolce ardor”

“O del mio dolce ardor” is an icon of early Italian opera.

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Written by a non-Italian (Christoph Willibald von Gluck), “O del mio dolce ardor” has musical qualities which later in history would be associated with the bel canto era in Italian vocal music (“beautiful singing”). The pinnacle of bel canto were the operas of Donizetti and Bellini in the 19th century. “O del mio dolce ardor,” from the opera Paride ed Elena (Paris and Helen), has an extraordinarily beautiful vocal melody—quite striking on the ear! As was the custom in that era, it was composed with a male soprano (castrato) in mind. Here are the “O del mio dolce ardor” lyrics and “O del mio dolce ardor” translation:

O del mio dolce ardor
Bramato oggetto,
L’aura che tu respiri,
Alfin respiro.

O vunque il guardo io giro,
Le tue vaghe sembianze
Amore in me dipinge:
Il mio pensier si finge
Le più liete speranze;
E nel desio che così
M’empie il petto
Cerco te, chiamo te, spero e sospiro.

Oh, of my sweet ardor
You desired object!
The air which you breathe,
At last I will breathe.

Wherever my glance I turn
Your lovely features
Love for me paint a picture:
My thoughts imagine
The most happy hopes,
And in the longing which
Thus fills my breast
I seek you, I call you, I hope, and I sigh. Ah!


Our first example is a performance by countertenor, Luís Miguel Fontes. This gives some clue as to how the original performances, with male soprano, may have sounded.

Our second example is a performance by mezzo-soprano, Teresa Berganza, whose tone quality is remarkably similar to that of the countertenor of the previous example. The limpid melody invites beautiful phrasing out of this artist.

Nowadays, a tenor would naturally replace the male soprano voice in casting this role. Our third performance, by tenor Ramon Vargas, is a model of how this aria sounds today.


And lastly, we have a sumptuous orchestration attending this performance by baritone, Renato Bruson. A modern trumpet takes the place of the obligato instrument, which in the original would more likely have been a violin or an oboe.

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Dissertation > Excellent graduate degree dissertation topics show

Gluck Song Features and Works Analysis

Author: ChenZhenYu
Tutor: PianYiXin
School: Fujian Normal University
Course: Music
Keywords: Gluck "O del mio dolce ardor" creation background the style of opera
CLC: J832
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 44
Quote: 0
Read: Download Dissertation


"O del mio dolce ardor" selected from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera "Paride ed Elena". This opera is one of the Gluck’s most important creations. Compared with traditional Italian opera,it has many difference in the aspects of opera creation,character creation and music with the foil, Gluck’s opera creation style appear more concise, simple and natural.This study briefly introduced the Gluck’s life and his creations according to refer the literatures at home and abroad. The paper analyzed the background of Gluck’s opera reform and explained the characteristics of Gluck’s opera in two aspects:the subject matter of operas and the skills of creation, then it can further reflect the concept of natural, pure and fresh in Gluck’s opera. In addition, the writer made further study on singing skills of "O del mio dolce ardor", which based on the analysis of creation background and cause of formations of "O del mio dolce ardor". It can make a thorough inquiry of Gluck’s opera reform concepts in "O del mio dolce ardor"。

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