Ponchielli's Career Maker: 'La Gioconda'

The Introduction

THE HIT SINGLE: "Suicidio!"

In Act Four, Gioconda (soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek) realizes that the only way to save Enzo is to give him up -- and give herself to Barnaba. Both defiant and resigned, she sings of suicide -- "Suicidio!" -- in what is surely Ponchielli's most famous aria.

THE B SIDE: "Cielo e mar"

After secretly returning to Venice, Enzo (tenor Riccardo Massi) has become involved with Gioconda -- though deep down, he's still in love with Laura. In Act Two, he's eagerly waiting for a reunion with Laura, not realizing the meeting is a trap, and sings the longing aria "Sky and Sea" ("Cielo e mar").