Monday, 13 February 2017


Question Submitted by Craig* (via email):

“Hello Rose…if you were planning a romantic evening with a new (or old) friend, and could pick only one piece of music, who/what would you pick and why?...”

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Thank you for your inquiry, Craig. I imagine you are preparing for Valentine’s Day, yes? If I could only choose one piece of music (what a difficult choice to make!) for the occasion, it would be Gaetano Donizetti’s “Una Furtiva Lagrima” (A Furtive Tear) from the composer's 1832 opera L’Elisir D’Amore (The Elixir of Love) performed by French/Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón.

The aria is a classic romantic ballad – it’s back story delightfully charming: the peasant Nemorino (Villazón), hopelessly in love with Adina – a wealthy landowner – downs what he believes is a specially concocted “love potion” (which he receives from the village quack, a 'healer' named Dulcamara - and which is in reality not a love potion at all but rather a cheap Bordeaux wine) in a desperate attempt to gain his beloved’s affections. Unaware he has recently inherited a sizable fortune (from his recently deceased Uncle), Nemorino, filled to the brim with confidence thanks to his magic ‘elixir,’ walks into a room containing his ladylove (who is surrounded with a band of women). He is immediately enveloped by a flock of otherwise fickle females – all of whom have eyes only for his newfound fortune. Moved by an overzealous sense of ego, and more than a soupçon of cockiness, Nemorino plays hard-to-get and ignores everyone in his immediate sight  – including Adina, who swiftly exits the room in disappointment.

It is at this moment Nemorino realizes that the much-coveted object of his affection shares his feelings of love. Overcome with emotion, he can only sing of his  fortune:

“She loves me, that I see!...O God, I should die – I could not ask for more!”

Who among us hasn’t felt the anxiety of uncertainty, questioned the nature of our courtship, experienced the thrill of release? I would choose this aria for these reasons alone: its sentiment - as experienced and expressed through Nemorino - is a universal one.

Enjoy below Rolando Villazón’s incredibly moving rendition of this staple of romantic classical music (in a encore performance at Vienna’s Wiener Staatsoper):

Discover more (external link):

Read a translation into English (from the original Italian) at
*Reader's name used with permission.



  1. "I imagine you are preparing for Valentine’s Day, yes?" dedicate it to you.

    Happy Valentines day,


  2. classical_music_fan15 February 2017 at 10:00

    Very slick Craig! Rose, great one sings this aria like Villazon. I have always preferred him in this role compared to other "modern tenors"..I haven't seen this encore before though..he looks he crying at the end of the aria? Powerful stuff!

    1. Hello classical_music_fan,

      I thought the same thing the first time I saw this performance. It's really hard to tell with Rolando, he tends to lose himself in his roles and is a very expressive (and very gracious) performer. He may just be wiping away perspiration - if you look carefully throughout the video you can see he is sweating quite profusely under those hot lights. That being said, it really is difficult to tell. Either way, you summed up the encore quite well. It IS powerful stuff!