O Mio Babbino Caro
Vocals: Andrea Baker
Original Artist: Puccini/Forzano
Original Album: Gianni Schicchi
Historian: Charles Franz, Kazimierz O. Wrzeszczynski
"O Mio Babbino Caro" (“Oh, My Dear Daddy”) is the only true aria in Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi. Performed by almost all famous sopranos throughout history from Maria Callas to Anna Netrebko it is probably ranked within the top ten soprano arias. "O Mio Babbino Caro" has crossed-over into pop music, cinema and television advertising.
Lyric soprano Andrea Baker of the San Francisco Opera was a surprise guest at the 5/27/94 Warfield Theatre show. The aria segues from a “Mike’s Song” that is itself a rather unconventional version. Right after “Simple” slows down to a stop, Trey starts to play the beginning theme to the aria (and quite beautifully I might add). It is after that Andrea Baker sings most of the aria itself. Alone and unmic’ed, Ms. Baker sang powerfully a young woman’s plea to her father to be allowed to marry her love, else she’ll throw herself off a bridge (“Oh dear daddy, I love him, he is so handsome, ... Daddy, have pity, have pity”). Baker sings the aria faster than it is normally performed and is not able to finish it; there is a space between where she stopped to take a breath and the actual completion of the aria. However, mistaking this pause for the actual ending of the aria, the crowd began to cheer and thank Andrea for her performance. No doubt a bit befuddled by opera aria at a Phish show, the audience nonetheless applauded Ms. Baker long and heartily. Thus inspired, the crowd accompanied the band by shaking boxes of mac-n-cheese during the spirited “Possum” that ensued.