Andrea Chenier - La Mamma Morta
La Mamma Morta- ‘Mother Death’, aria from Giordano’s Andrea Chénier.
Within the tragic song, the life of the fallen countess Maddalena is told— how her mother perished saving her in the flames of her childhood house (‘the home that craddled me is burning!’) by the hands of the French Revolution; how her maid, the only faithful love she knew thenceforth, ‘sold her beauty’ into prostitution to care for her— But yet, when all light was gone, and any hope she found in life had died away, the Strings of a new theme break the old, and she sings,
It was then, in my grief,
that love came to me.
A voice full of harmony says,
“You must live, I am life itself!
Your heaven is in my eyes!
You are not alone.
I shall collect all your tears
I will walk with you and support you!
Smile and hope! I am Love!
Are you surrounded by blood and mire?
I am Divine! I am Oblivion!
I am the God who saves the World
I descend from Heaven and make this Earth
A heaven! Ah!
I am love, love, love.”
And the angel approaches with a kiss,
and he kisses death -
A dying body is my body.
So take it.
I am already dead matter!
—She sings all this of her new-found love in Andrea Chénier; a poet ever enthralled in Truth and Beauty— whom with she is to share in his death in the final scene, at the guillotines of St. Lazare Prison.