Sunday, September 23, 2012

L’elisir d’amore – Udite, udite o rustici

Listen, listen, o peasants
Don’t breathe a word of this to anyone.
I already suppose and imagine
That you know as well as I
That I am that grand,
Encyclopaedic doctor
Called Dulcamara,
Whose illustrious virtue
And infinite wonders
Are known in all the world...and in other places.
Benefactor of mankind,
Curer of ills,
In a little while I will have cleared out
And swept away the hospitals,
Selling health
And travelling the world over.
Buy it, buy it,
I’ll give it to you for a small price.
It’s this toothache medicine
Marvellous liquor,
The mighty destroyer
Of mice and bugs,
Whose certificates,
authentic and labelled,
I will allow each of you
To touch, see and read.
This is my specialty,
A lovely wonder.
A man, in his seventies
And sickly,
Yet became
The grandfather of ten babes.
Well, ten to twenty babes
he had,
Because of this touch and health
In a brief week
It did more than cease
His crying affliction.
O all of you, stiff matrons,
Do you yearn to be rejuvenated?
Your inconvenient wrinkles
Will be erased with this.
Do you want, damsels,
To have smooth skin?
You, young gallant men,
To always have lovers?
Buy my specialty,
I’ll give it to you for a small price
It moves the paralytics,
despatches apoplectics,
asthmatics, asphyxiation,
Hysteria, diabetes,
It cures tympanitis
And tuberculosis and rickets,
And even liver trouble,
Which used to be fashionable.
Buy my specialty,
I’ll give it to you for a small price.
I brought it by post
From a thousand miles away
You ask me: How much is it?
How much is that bottle worth?
100 scudi?... 30?... 20?
No...nobody shall be dismayed.
To prove to you my gladness
That I am accepted as a friend,
I want from you, O good people,
To give 1 scudo.
Here it is: stupendous,
Truly balsamic elixir
All of Europe knows that I sell
Nothing under 10 lire:
But since it is also clear
That I was born in this country,
I’ll give it to you for 3 lire,
I ask only 3 lire:
It is as clear as the sun,
That to everyone who wants it,
1 scudo, nice and neat
I’ll put in my pocket.
Ah! The sweet affection of home
Can do great miracles.

Giuseppe Taddei makes a magnificent Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.

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