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Neapolitan songs sung by six great singers

Everyone loves a Neapolitan song, and our singers on The Lyric Stage this Sunday (5/14 at 8 pm) show us why.

Many songs fall under the heading of "Neapolitan," but usually there are at least two defining characteristics, a graceful, lyrical melody and the Neapolitan dialect. They frequently are a serenade, or a lover's complaint. One Victorian critic called them drawing room ballads, like "Home Sweet Home”. But that is part of their appeal - they are accessible to amateur singers as well as professionals. The Neapolitan song became a formal institution in the 1830s due to an annual song-writing competition for the Festival of Piedigrotta. The first winner was Te voglio bene assaje, attributed to Donizetti.

Caruso and others popularized the genre in the late 19th and early 20th century, and since then the leading tenors of the day have all recorded and performed the genre, but it isn't only tenors drawn to these songs, as we shall see; and a couple of the songs you'll hear twice from different singers, but I don't think you will mind the repetition. So it's late at night in a dimly lit café, the candle on the red checked table cloth is burning down, the mood is reflective, and it's time for some Neapolitan songs.