Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fin ch'han dal vino – Don Giovanni

Until they have become hot-headed with wine,
Let’s prepare a grand party.
If you find a girl in the piazza,
Try to bring her here.
May the dance be wild,
Who will be the minuet, who the folia
Who will dance the allemande with you.                       
Meanwhile, I’ll be singing my own song 
Flirting with this girl and that girl.
Ah you must add to my list
About ten entries tomorrow morning

Simon Keenlyside sings the champagne aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Ferrara, 1997. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Che farò senza Euridice? – Orfeo ed Euridice

What will I do without Euridice?
Where will I go without my love?
What will I do?
Where will I go?...
Euridice! Euridice!
O God! Answer me!
Answer me!
I am faithful yet!...
Ah! Nothing is left to me
No rescue, no hope
Not from the world, nor from the heavens!...

Dame Janet Baker sings Orfeo's tragic aria from Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice.

TV recital, 1982.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Acerba Voluttà – Adriana Lecouvreur

Bitter pleasure, sweet torture,
Slow agony, quick offense,
Blaze, frost, tremor, restlessness, fear,
For the lover who waits expectantly!

Every echo, every shadow in the kindling night
Conspires against the impatient soul:
Everything is suspended between doubt and desire,
One moment is an eternity…

Will he come? Has he forgotten me? Will he hasten to me? Or will he turn back?
Here he comes!...No, it is the sound of the river,
Mixed with the sighs of a dormant tree….
O vagabond eastern star,
Do not set: smile on the universe,
And guard my love, if he does not mind the way!...

Elena Obraztsova sings the aria of Princess d'Bouillon from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur.

Tokyo, 1980.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

O Carlo Ascolta – Don Carlo

*Includes prior recitative.

It’s me, dear Carlo.

Don Carlo
O Rodrigo, I am so grateful to you
For coming to Carlo in prison.

Dear Carlo!

Don Carlo
Well you know it! I have abandoned myself to the current!
For Isabella’s love, I torture and kill myself...
No, it’s not worth going on living!
But you can save them yet;
The Flanders are no longer oppressed.

Ah! I can see clearly your affection!
Get out of this ghastly tomb.
I am happy just because I can embrace you!
I will save you!

Don Carlo
What are you saying?

We’d better say farewell!

Don Carlo
Why do you speak of death?

Listen, time is running out,
I have already turned the tremendous lightning to me!
You are no longer the rival of the King now…
The proud agitator of the Flanders…is me!

Don Carlo
Who would believe it?

The evidence is tremendous!
Your papers were found in my possession...
The rebellion testimonies are clear
And this head already had a certain price set on it.

Don Carlo
I want to expose everything about the King.

No, you side with Flanders,
You are for the great Serbian work.
You must do it. A new golden age
You will be reborn; you must reign
And I must die for you.

Don Carlo
Heavens! Death! Whoever for?

For me!
The vendetta of the King could not delay!
Oh God!

O Carlo, listen, your mother awaits you
At San Giusto tomorrow; she knows everything...
Ah! I’m leaving the earth... dearest Carlo;
Give me your hand...!
I will die, but glad in heart,
That I could keep
Such a saviour for Spain!
Ah! ... don’t... forget... me...!

Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Posa's two arias from the last act of Verdi's Don Carlo.

Joseph Volpe Galla, 2006.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

O don fatale – Don Carlo

O fatal gift, o cruel gift
That heaven, in its wrath, made me!
You make us so vain, so haughty,
I curse you, I curse you, o my beauty!
I can only pour out tears,
I have no hope, I will have to suffer!
My crime is truly horrible
I can never blot it out!
I curse you, I curse you, o my beauty,
O my Queen, I sacrificed you
To the foolish error of this heart.
Now only in a cloister from the world
Must I hide my grief!
Alas! Alas! O my Queen,
Oh heavens! Carlo! Going to his death tomorrow,
Great God! I will see him go to his death!
Ah, only one day remaining, hope smiles on me,
Ah, blessed be the heavens! I will save him!

Olga Borodina as Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo. Apologies for the black and white and blurry image.

Mia madre aveva una povera ancella - Otello

He seemed so to me.                                                    
He bid me get into bed and await him. 
Emilia, I pray you,                                            
Lay out my spotless wedding garment
On my bed.                                                     
Listen! If I must die before you              
Bury me with one of those veils.                       
I am so desperately wretched.                                      

My mother had a poor servant girl                   
She was beautiful and in love
Her name was Barbara;
She loved a man but he abandoned her,
She sang a song;
The song of the willow.                                     
Take down my hair.                                         
This evening I have haunting memories 
Of that lullaby.                                    

"She wept, singing in the lonely heath                 
The sad girl wept.                                            
O Willow! Willow!  Willow!                                          
She sat bowing her head on her breast!                       
Willow! Willow! Willow!
Let’s sing! Let’s sing!                                          
The willow shall be my funeral garland."           

Hurry; Othello will be here soon.                      

"The streams flowed between the flowering banks               
She lamented that broken heart,                           
And the heart flowed out, from the eyes        
The bitter wave of tears,                           
Willow! Willow!  Willow!
Let’s sing! Let’s sing!                                          
The willow shall be my funeral garland."           

"The birds flew down from the dark branches            
Towards that sweet song.                                 
And her eyes wept so bitterly
That even the rocks were moved to pity."                                             

Put on this ring.                                    
Poor Barbara!                                                  
She would end her story with this simple line:    

"He was born for his own glory, I for love."

Listen. I hear a lament. Be quiet.                       
Who knocks on the door?                                

"I to love him and to die                                   
Let’s sing! Let’s sing!                                          
Willow! Willow! Willow!”

Emilia, farewell.                                                
How my eyes burn!                                          
It presages weeping.
Ah! Emilia, Emilia, farewell!

Barbara Frittoli as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello.

Florence, 2003. Conductor: Zubin Mehta.          

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Largo al factotum – Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Make way for the city’s factotum.
Make way! La la la la la la la LA!
Early to his shop, it’s already dawn.
Early! La la la la la la la LA!
Ah, what a beautiful life, what a lovely pleasure
for an excellent barber!

Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, well done!
Bravo! La la la la la la la LA!
Truly a most fortunate man!

Ready to do everything, night and day
Always moving about.
It’s the best abundance for a barber,
A more noble life, no, it cannot be found.
La la la la la la la la la la la la la!

Razors and combs
Pointers and scissors,
at my command
Everything is here.

Here are the tools,
Then, the trade
with the ladies, with the gentlemen.

Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me,
women, guys, elderly, young girls:
Here is the wig, there is a beard.
Here a leech, there a ticket.

Alas, what a fury!
Alas, what a crowd!
One at a time,

Figaro! I’m here.
Hey, Figaro! I’m here.

Figaro here, Figaro there…
Figaro up, Figaro down…

Swift, I’m as quick as the lightning:
I am the city’s jack of all trades.

Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, very good;
Fortune will not fail you.

Tito Gobbi as Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville.

Film 1946.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ah, per sempre – I puritani

Ah, I’ve lost you forever,
My flower of love, oh my hope;
Ah! The life ahead of me
Will be full of sorrow!
When I wandered for years and years
Under the power of misfortune,
I defied grief and disaster
In the hope of your love.

Lovely, blessed dream,
Of peace and contentment,
Change my fate,
Or change my heart.
Oh! What a torment
On the day of my grief,
The sweet memory
Of a tender love.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings an aria from Bellini's I Puritani.

Moscow, 1991.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vissi d'arte - Tosca

I lived for art, I lived for love,
I never hurt a living soul!
With a secretive hand
I helped every misfortunate soul I encountered.
With sincere faith
My prayer always
Ascended to the holy shrines.
With sincere faith
I always gave flowers on the altar.
In the hour of pain
Why, why, Lord,
Why do you reward me like this?
I gave jewels for Madonna’s mantle,
And I gave a song to the stars, to the heavens,
that smiled full of beauty.
In the hour of grief
Why, why, Lord,
Ah, why do you reward me like this?

Mezzo Elena Obraztsova sings the soprano aria, "vissi d'arte" from Puccini's Tosca.

Tokyo, 1980.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sono andati? - La Boheme

Are they gone? I was pretending to sleep
So I could be alone with you
I have so many things that I want to say to you
Or just one, but it’s as big as the sea
As deep and infinite as the sea
You are my love and my whole life ...

Ah, Mimì, my beautiful Mimì!

Am I still beautiful?

As beautiful as the dawn.

You made the wrong comparison.
You meant: as beautiful as a sunset.
"They call me Mimì,
They call me Mimì
I don’t know why."

He returned the swallow and the chirps to the nest.

My bonnet, my bonnet!
Ah! Do you remember when
I came here, that first time, there?

I remember it!

The light had gone out…

You were so upset!
And then you lost the key.

You were looking so hard for it.

Looking and looking.

My dear sir,
I can tell you now:
You found it very quickly.

I was helping destiny.

It was dark and you could not see me blushing
"What a cold little hand
If you warm it up!..."
It was dark and you took my hand.

Placido Domingo and Mirella Freni in the final act of Puccini's La Boheme.