Puccini’s “Un Bel Di” vs. Adele’s “One and Only”
“Un Bel Di” of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly is perhaps the most well-known aria of all time. In this particular piece Butterfly, the main character of the play, is painting a picture of her lover’s return. What Butterfly fails to realize is that her husband is no longer in love with her. He had left three years prior to return to America, yet Butterfly still has faith that he will one day return to her. This operatic selection relates to Adele’s “One and Only” in that both women are experiencing issues with love. “One and Only” focuses on the subject of unrequited love. Both songs contain different textures, instrumentation, changes in mood, and other elements to further emphasize the meaning that is to be portrayed. The forms of the songs greatly differ but the message conveys a similar image of a love unreciprocated.
In “Un Bel Di” Madame Butterfly is describing how she thinks it will be when her estranged husband, Pinkerton, finally returns to her. She does not realize that Pinkerton is not in love with her and has moved back to the United States. In Butterfly’s mind he has never stopped loving her. In the opening phrase, Butterfly sings of how a ship will appear and her husband will ascend from it in pursuit of her. She claims that she will wait at the top of a hill for him as he approaches calling her the old pet names he had once called her. She then comes back to reality and assures Suzuki, her servant, and herself that all of these events will one day happen. “One and Only” expresses the heartfelt feelings of a woman toward a man. The woman is experiencing a deep love for this man but, unfortunately, he does not feel the same way. Toward the beginning of the song the woman admits that she has pictured being with him, she says, “I don’t know why I’m scared, I’ve been here before. Every feeling, every word, I’ve imagined it all.” Near the end of the song she sings about her understanding of his...
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