Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ella giammai m'amò – Don Carlo

She never loved me...!
No, that heart is closed to me,
She has no love for me...!
I can still see her
How sad she seemed
The day she saw my white hair
When she came here from France.
No, she has no love for me.

Where am I...? Those torches
They’ve nearly burned out...!
The sunrise brightens my balcony!
Dawn is already breaking!
I see my days passing slowly!
Sleep, O God!
Vanished from my languishing eyes!
I will sleep alone in my royal mantle
When my day has reached evening;
I will sleep alone under the dark vault
There, in the Escurial tomb!
If the regal crown could give me power
To read the hearts, that God alone can see...!
If the prince is sleeping, the traitor is waking;
The king loses his crown, and his honor! 

Boris Christoff sings King Phillip's aria from Verdi's Don Carlo.
His voice is not quite in its prime, but still has incredible and unique qualities.
Vienna, 1980s.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Notte e giorno faticar – Don Giovanni

Laboring night and day,
For a man who is never happy,
To endure the wind and rain,
To eat badly, to sleep badly.
I want to become a gentleman
And I don’t want to serve anymore...
Oh what a dear great man!
He wants to stay inside with the beauty,
While I have to keep watch!
I want to become a gentleman
And I don’t want to serve anymore…
I think I hear people coming
I don’t want to make a sound.

Donna Anna
Don’t hope, if you don’t kill me,
I’ll never let you go!

Don Giovanni
Mad woman! Vain cries,
You’ll never know who I am!

What a rucuss! Oh heavens, what cries!
The master is in new trouble.

Donna Anna
People! Servants! Get the traitor!

Don Giovanni
Be quiet and tremble at my fury!

Donna Anna

Don Giovanni
Watch yourself!

Wait and see, the villain
Will cast me down!

Donna Anna
Like a desperate fury
I will know you and follow you!

Don Giovanni
This desperate fury
Wants to cast me down!

Il Commendatore
Leave her alone, wretch!
Fight me!

Don Giovanni
Go away, I won’t condescend
To fight with you.

Il Commendatore
Do you think you can run away from me?

I could at least leave here!

Don Giovanni
Wretch, wait,
If you want to die!

Il Commendatore
Ah, rescue me! I am betrayed!
The assassin has injured me,
And from the throbbing breast
I feel the soul depart.

Don Giovanni
Ah, already the unfortunate has fallen,
Labored and agonizing,
Already from the throbbing bosom
I see the soul depart.

What mischief! What excess!
Within a breast full of fear
I feel my heart trembling!
I don’t know what to do, what to say.

Bryn Terfel as Leporello, Simon Keenlyside as Don Giovanni, Matti Salminen as the Commendatore, and Carmela Remigio as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni.
Ferrara, 1997. Conductor: Claudio Abbado. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ah! lo vedi – Cavalleria Rusticana

Ah! you see,
What did you say...? 

What you wanted, and it was fine.

Ah! God! 

My heart is breaking! 


Turiddu, listen! 


Be still.
To leave me -
Is that what you want? 

Why are you following me,
Why are you spying on me
On the edges
Of the churchyard? 

Your Santuzza
Is crying and begging you;
To banish her
Is that what you want? 

Go away, I say
Go, don’t bore me,
Your repentance is worthless
After your offense! 

Watch yourself! 

I don’t care if you’re angry!

Have a miserable Easter, liar!

Fiorenza Cossotto and Placido Domingo in the second half of the great duet from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana.
Tokyo, 1976. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Inneggiamo – Cavalleria Rusticana

Santuzza, Lucia and outside choir
We hail Him,
The Lord is not dead,
He is radiant
He has risen from the grave
We hail
The risen Lord
Today ascended
To the glory of heaven!

Pray for us, God.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary.
Because the Lord is risen indeed.

Fiorenza Cossotto sings the Easter Hymn from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana.
Tokyo, 1976.

Il Mio Tesoro – Don Giovanni

Go to console my sweetheart,
And those beautiful crying eyes
Try to dry them.

Tell her that her wrongs
I am going to avenge,
Only carnage and death
Will announce my return.

A rare clip of the great lyric tenor Luigi Alva in one of his best roles, that of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni.
Aix, 1960.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mad Scene – Lucia di Lammermoor

The sweet sound of his voice struck me!
Ah, that voice it is here down in my heart!
Edgardo! I surrender to you. Edgardo! Ah! my Edgardo! Yes, I surrender!
I have escaped from your enemies.
A cold wind blows through my chest!
Shaking  every fiber!
My foot falters!
Let’s sit down near the fountain awhile! Yes, let’s sit down near the fountain.
Alas, the terrifying ghost rises and separates us!
Let’s take shelter here, Edgardo, at the foot of the altar.
It is covered with roses!

A heavenly harmony, tell me, don’t you hear it?
Ah, the sound of the wedding song!
They’re preparing the ritual for us! Oh, I’m so happy!
Oh the joy that one feels, and can’t explain!
The incense is burning!
The sacred torches are blazing, shining all around!
Here is the minister!
Give me your right hand!
Oh glad day!
At last I am yours, at last you are mine,
A god is giving you to me.
Every wonderful pleasure
I want to share with you
A laugh from merciful heaven,
Life will be for us.

Katia Ricciarelli in the epic mad scene from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. 
Bregenz, 1982. Conductor: Lamberto Gardelli. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Recondita Armonia - Tosca

Oh the mysterious harmony of diverse beauties!
Floria is dark, my ardent lover,
And you, unknown beauty,
Have a ring of blonde hair!
Your eyes are blue
Tosca’s are black!
Art in all its mystery
Mixes various beauties together:
But while I’m painting her
my only thought,
ah! my only thought is you!
Tosca, it’s you!

This is from a 1992 production in which Tosca was performed in the exact places of the libretto, in something close to real time. The orchestra was a few miles away.

1992, Conductor: Zubin Mehta. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Non piangere liu – Turandot

Don’t cry, Liù
If a long time ago
I smiled at you
For that smile,
My sweet girl
Listen to me
Your master
He will be, tomorrow,
Possibly, all alone in the world
Don’t leave him...
Take him with you.
In exile,
Sweeten the way for him
O my poor Liù,
To your dear heart
That never fails
Pray for he
Who shan’t smile anymore.

Jose Carreras, Katia Ricciarelli and John Paul Bogart in the finale to act I of Puccini's Turandot.
Vienna, 1983. Conductor: Lorin Maazel.

Se il mio nome – Il barbiere di Siviglia

If you long to know my name,
You will hear it from my very own lips.
I am Lindoro
Who faithfully adores you,
Who wishes to marry you,
to call you by name,
always speaking of you lovingly
from sunrise to sunset.
The loving and sincere Lindoro,
Who cannot give you, my dear, a treasure.
I am not rich,
But I give you my heart,
A loving soul
Constant and true
That yearns only for you
From sunrise to sunset.

Juan Diego Florez sings Almaviva's second aria from Rossini's Barber of Seville.
La Scala, 1999. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.

Un’aura amorosa – Così Fan Tutte

A loving aura
Of our treasure
A sweet refreshment
Will come to the heart…

To the heart that, nourished
By hope, by love…
Of the best sustenance
It has no need…

Rising star Jonas Kaufmann in an early performance in Mozart's Così fan tutte.

Milan 1998. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

No, Pagliaccio non son – Pagliacci

No! I am not Pagliaccio;
If my face is pale,
It’s from shame, and lust for revenge!
This man is taking back his rights,
This bleeding heart wants blood
To wash away the shame, o cursed woman!
No, I am not Pagliaccio!
I am the idiot
Who picked this little orphan off the street
Almost dead from hunger,
And gave you a name,
And a love that was feverish and mad!

Peasant women
Clown, you make me cry!
This scene seems so real!

Peasant men
Be quiet down there! What the hell!

I can hardly believe it!

I had hoped, I had been blinded by this delirium,
If not love, pity... mercy!
And my heart was glad for every sacrifice required,
And confidently believed
In you, more than God Himself!
But only vice lives in your neglected soul;
you have no feeling... only feeling for yourself!
Go away, you’re not worth my grief,
Wretched harlot,
You have my contempt
Just to crush you under my feet!!

The crowd

Fine then! If you judge me unworthy of you,
You're driving me away.

Ah! ah!
You can ask nothing better
Than to run quickly to your dear lover.
You’re a clever one! No! by God!
You’ll stay…
You will tell me your lover’s name!!

Come on, this is awful
I can’t really believe you!
There’s nothing tragic here.
Come and tell them or Taddeo,
The man sitting there,
Sitting next to me just now
It was... the fearful and harmless Harlequin!

Ah! you challenge me!
You still don’t get it
That I’m not giving in to you?...
The name, or your life! His name!

Ah! No, my God!
Maybe I’m not worthy…
Not what you want, but I’m not vile, for God’s sake!

Are they acting?
Is this serious?
Be quiet down there!
This is serious and dark!

I can’t resist anymore!
Oh what a strange comedy!

We must leave, Tonio. I’m afraid!...

Shut up, idiot!

You anger is stronger than my love!
I won’t talk! No! Even at the risk of death!

His name! His name!


Holy hell! He’s serious...

The crowd and Peppe
What are you doing? Stop! Help!

To you! To you!
You will say it, in the throes of death!

Rescue me! Silvio!


Ah!... is it you?
So be it!

The crowd
Stop! Jesus and Mary!

The comedy is finished!

Placido Domingo in the final scene of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. With Teresa Stratas as Nedda and Sherill Milnes as Tonio.
Metropolitan Opera, 1978. Conductor: James Levine.