Friday, December 23, 2011

Deh, vieni alla finestra – Don Giovanni

We’ll see.
These are the windows.
Let’s sing now.
Come to the window,
O my darling!
Come to dry
my tears.
If you refuse to give me
some restoration,
in front of your eyes
I will want to die.
You have a mouth
sweeter than honey.
You carry
sugar in your heart.
Don’t be, my joy,
cruel with me.
Let me at least see you,
my fair love!

Simon Keenlyside sings the serenade from Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Sogno soave e casto – Don Pasquale

This madness
will overthrow my plans!

Sweet and chaste dream
from my early years, farewell.
I longed for wealth and splendor
just for you, my love:
poor, abandoned,
fallen to a low state,
ere seeing you miserable,
dear, I must renounce you.

Don Pasquale
Really, how original!
That obstinate oaf!
Well, thank goodness,
he seems sober.
Well, I know where his weakness is,
but that is what he wants,
he himself
cannot blame others!

Juan Diego Florez as Ernesto in Donizetti's Don Pasquale. With Ruggero Raimondi as Don Pasquale.

This is just incredibly gorgeous. Florez is the perfect Ernesto.

Zurich, 2007.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ecco, ridente in cielo – Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Here, laughing in heaven
emerges the beautiful dawn,
and you are not awake yet
you can sleep like this?
Arise, my sweet hope,
come, my dear idol;
Render less painful, oh God,
The arrow that wounds me.
Oh destiny! I see now
that dear countenance;
this loving soul
has obtained mercy.
Oh moments of love!
Oh sweet contentedness!
Precious moment
It has no equal!

Juan Diego Florez sings Almaviva's first aria from Rossini's Barber of Seville. I'm not sure what those hopping Vulcans are supposed to represent.

La Scala, 1999. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nessun dorma - Turandot

No one shall sleep! No one shall sleep!
Not even you, o, Princess
In your cold room,
Look at the stars
That tremble with love
And hope.

But my secret is hidden within me,
No one will know my name!
No, no, I will say it on your mouth
when the light shines!

And my kiss will melt the silence
That makes you mine!

No one will know his name!...
And, alas, we must die!

Vanish, o night!
Fade away, stars!
Fade away, stars!
At dawn I will win!
I will win, I will win!

Placido Domingo sings Nessun dorma from Puccini's Turandot. A different version to the one posted several times already.

La Scala, 1983. Conductor: Lorin Maazel.

Chi mi frena – Lucia di Lammermoor

(Who’s stopping me in such a moment?
Who’s cutting short the course of anger?
Her pain, her fear
They are the proof of remorse!
But, that fading rose,
She is between life and death...
I am overcome... I am moved!...
I love you, ungrateful woman, I love you still!)

(Who is trying to stop my fury
And the hand that’s stroking the sword?
In favor of the poor girl
A cry arose in my breast!
She is my blood! I have betrayed her!
She is between life and death...
Oh! I cannot prevent
My heart’s remorse.)

(I had hoped that my fear
would have ended my life...
But death is no help to me...
I still live for my torment!
The veil has fallen from my eyes,
Heaven and earth have betrayed me!
I would like to weep, but I can’t...
Even my tears have abandoned me!)

Raimondo, Arturo
(What a terrible moment!
I am without words...
A dense cloud [veil] of fear
Is covering the rays of the sun!
Like a wilting rose
She is between life and death
Whoever is not moved for her
Has a heart of stone.)

The great sextet from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.

Edgardo: José Carreras
Lucia: Katia Ricciarelli
Enrico: Leo Nucci
Raimondo: John Paul Bogart
Arturo: John Dickie
Alisa: Waltraud Winsauer

Bregenz, 1982.
Conductor: Lamberto Gardelli.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Signore, ascolta - Turandot

Sir, listen! Ah, sir, listen!
Liu can bear no more!
Her heart is breaking! My, how long I’ve walked
With your name in my soul
With your name on these lips!
But if your destiny
Tomorrow, will be decided,
We will die on the road of exile.
He’ll lose his son
I, the shadow of a smile.
Liù can bear no more! Ah! Ah!

Katia Ricciarelli sings Liu's first act aria in Puccini's Turandot.

Vienna, 1983. Conductor: Lorin Maazel.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Credeasi, misera – I Puritani

She believed it, poor thing!
That I had betrayed her,
Leading her life
With that suffering!
I defy the lightning,
I spurn fate,
If you are beside me
I can die!

Which funeral
Fatal voice
Is shaking, arousing me from sleep
From my martyrdom!
If I was so barbaric
As to bring about this end
But I will be his wife
In death!

That mournful sound
Feral rumble
It strikes my bosom,
It freezes my heart!
It has no more tears -
My grief.

Some soldiers
That mournful sound,
That opens a tomb,
Rumbles deeply,
It strikes my heart.
And the terrifying God
In his revenge
Strikes down the wicked
With rigor.

Other soldiers
That mournful sound,
That opens a tomb,
Rumbles deeply,
It strikes my heart.
And God wills it
Without pity!

That mournful sound
That opens a tomb
Strikes my heart,
Their horrible fate
It strikes my heart.
Ah, pity.

That mournful sound
From the trumpet strikes our hearts.
Despite the tears
It gives us hope,
Yes, that God
Comes to us with pity.

Leading her life
With that suffering!
I defy the lightning,
I spurn fate,
If you are beside me
I can die!

What are you waiting for?


Elvira, Elvira!

Riccardo, Giorgio, Women
Only ferocity now speaks with volume!

God commands to His children
That by now justice should be rendered
The avenging sword falls at last
Hand over the traitor!

Arturo! Arturo, you still live!

Riccardo, Giorgio, women
You should learn the pity of God!

I am with thee.

Forgive me!
I am dying, o my Arturo!

Ah one embrace!

Yes, my dear

Ah, farewell!


Stop, stand aside,
Cruel, cruel men!
She is trembling,
She is fading,
Wicked souls,
Deaf to pity.
One single moment,
Ah, hold back your wrath,
Then you can satisfy yourselves
with cruelty.

Riccardo, Giorgio
Cease, cease for one moment!
One moment, have pity!
Please! Cease!

Vengeance hastens, God wills it,
It won’t be long!

O God, cease, have pity,
One moment, please, cease!

Juan Diego Florez in a scene from Bellini's I Puritani. No high F from him.
With Mariola Cantarero.
Las Palmas, 2004.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Esultate - Otello

Esultate - Otello

He is saved! He is saved!

Inner Voices
Throw out the skiffs!
Hands to the ropes! Stop!

Stronger with the oars! To the shore!

Inner Voices
To the shore! To the shore!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Rejoice! The pride of the Muslim’s
is buried in the sea; the glory is ours and the heavens!
First the army then the hurricane brought victory.

Hooray Othello! Hooray! Hooray!
Victory! Victory! Victory!

Placido Domingo sings 'Esultate' from the first act of Verdi's Otello.
Paris, 1976. Conductor: George Solti.

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.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Madamina, il catalogo e' questo – Don Giovanni

Miss, this is the catalog 
Of all the beauties that my master has loved;
A catalog that I have made myself.
Look at it, read it with me.
In Italy 640,
In Germany 231,
100 in France, in Turkey 91,
But in Spain 1,003!
Various women – peasants
servants and city girls,
countesses, baronesses,
marchionesses, princesses,
Women of every rank,
Of every shape and age.

In the blondes, he usually
Praises their kindness
The brunettes their constancy,
The older ones their sweetness.
In the winter, he likes the chubby one,
In the summer, he likes the skinny one;
The tall ones, he calls majestic, 
The young girl is always charming ...
The older ones make a conquest
Simply for the pleasure of adding them to the list;
but his predominant passion
is the young beginner
It’s not about whether she’s rich,
Or ugly, or beautiful;
Just so long as she’s wearing a skirt,
You know what happens then!

Bryn Terfel as Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Ferrara, 1997. Conductor: Claudio Abbado. 

Una furtiva lagrima – L’elisir d’amore

One furtive tear
In her eyes welled up…
These festive young people
She seemed to envy…
What more could I want?
She loves me, I see it.
One single instant the palpitations
Of her beautiful heart I sensed!...
With her confused sighing
Almost equaling my sighs!...
Heavens, one can die;
I can’t ask for more.

Here she is…Oh! She increases
The beauty of newborn love!
To be indifferent
One should be this way until she comes
To explain herself.

Juan Diego Florez sings una furtiva lagrima from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.
 Paris, 2004 

La calunnia - Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Slander is a breeze
A light air, considerably kind
That insensitive, sharp air
Lightly, sweetly
Begins to whisper
Softly softly, down low
Whistling under its breath
Flowing, buzzing,
In people’s ears
It deftly breaks in,
Making people’s heads and minds
Dazed and swollen.
Coming out of the mouth
The uproar is growing:
Gaining strength bit by bit,
Already flowing from place to place,
Seeming like thunder or a storm
In the heart of the forest,          
It’s whistling, rumbling,
And it will freeze you with horror.
When the overflows and the bursting stops,
It begins again with twice the force
Producing an explosion
Like a cannon shot,
An earthquake, a storm,
A general tumult
That makes the air reverberate. 
And the miserable wretch
Chastened, trampled
Under the public scourge
Will drop dead if he’s lucky.

Ruggero Raimondi sings Don Basilio's aria from Rossini's Barber of Seville.
Versailles, 1980.