Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Si può – Pagliacci

May I? I may
Ladies! Gentlemen!

Excuse me if I alone introduce myself

I am the Prologue:

Since yet in the scene

The author uses ancient masks;

In part he wants to bring back the old customs,

And send me back to you.

But not to tell you as before:

“The tears we cry are false!

Of spasms and our martyrs

Do not be alarmed!”

No! No.
The author has sought instead
To depict a glimpse of life.

He believes utmost that the artist is a man

And that he must write for men,

And be inspired by the truth.

A nest of memories

Was singing at the bottom of his soul one day,

And he wrote with genuine tears,

And his sobs beat the tempo!

And so, you will see love

As human beings love each other;

You will see the sad fruits of hate.

The spasms of pain,

Shouts of rage, you will hear,

And also laughter!

And you, rather than

Our poor actors’ changes,

Consider our soul,

Since we are men of flesh and bone,

And from this orphan world

We breathe the same air as you!

I’ve told you the concept...

Now listen as it is carried out.

Let’s go. Begin!

Tito Gobbi as Tonio in a 1946 film version of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

O del mio dolce ardor – Paride ed Elena

Oh my sweet ardor
Coveted object,
The air that you breathe,
I breathe at last.

Everywhere I turn, I see
Your vague semblance
Painting in me love:
My thought imagines
The most joyful of hopes;
And with this desire
Filling my heart
I’m looking for you, calling you, I hope and I sigh.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings this aria from Gluck's opera Paride ed Elena.

Moscow, 1991.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ah, la paterna mano - Macbeth

O sons, o my children!
That tyrant has killed you all,
And together with you,
Your unfortunate mother!
Ah, in the claws of that tiger
Did I leave mother and sons?

Ah, the paternal hand didn’t shield you,
O my dears,
Treacherous killers have mortally
wounded you!
And as for me, I escaped, while I hid
You were calling in vain
With your last gasps, with your last breaths.
Ah! lead me to the tyrant,
Lord, if he should escape from me
May he, in Your open arms,
Find forgiveness.

Placido Domingo in great voice singing the tenor aria from Verdi's Macbeth.

Concert for Romania, 1990.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tu che di gel sei cinta – Turandot

You, encircled with ice,
Are defeated by numerous flames
You will love him, even you!
Before this dawn
I close my tired eyes
Because if he yet wins...
Not to see him anymore!

Katia Ricciarelli gives a very moving performance as Liu. Jose Carreras is Calaf, Eva Marton is Turandot and John Paul Bogart is Timur.

Vienna, 1983. Conductor: Lorin Maazel.