OPRY LINKS 3: Stuck in France
"The Thieving Magpie," by
Tried and tried for months to find a translation for this, but no luck yet. Still, I love this little aria, and
presumptuously assert that it would
be more at home in a heroic opera than a comic operetta. The sad truth is
that it relates the story of a beauty contest, when it sounds like it is
expressing nobility, forbearance, courage, heroism! Ah, well. It's still
great. Here is Jussi
Bjorling's exemplary recording, with the interpolated high C, of “Au Mont
Ida,” from “La Belle Helene.”
For those badly in need of
context, here is a summary of the story:
while off on Offenbach, here's the "Barcarolle" from "L'Contes de Hoffmann."
"Lovely Night, O Night of Love." With Anna Netrebko and Elina
French and English:
oh, night of love
Smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day
Oh beautiful night of love!
Time flies by, and carries away
Our tender caresses for ever!
Time flies far from this happy oasis
And does not return
Embrace us with your caresses!
Give us your kisses!
Your kisses! Your kisses! Ah!
Lovely night, oh, night of love
Smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day
Oh, beautiful night of love!
Ah! Smile upon our joys!
Night of love, oh, night of love!
Ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah!
Keeping things light and French, which some might argue is redundant (not
me), here is the "Jewel Song" from Guonod's "Faust."
With Renee Fleming.
Setting: The garden of Marguerite in a German city, 16th century
Synopsis: Marguerite has found a casket of jewels at her door. She has never
had jewels of any sort and she tries them on and looks at herself in the
mirror. She imagines that others do not recognize her and believe that she
is actually a princess. She also thinks of Faust and sings that if he could
see her now, he would find her truly beautiful.
The eternally affecting, haunting mezzo aria, "Softly Awakes My
Heart" from "Samson and Delilah" by Saint-Saens. "Mon coeur
s'ouvre a ta voix," with Olga Borodina, Placido Domingo. Just so
inspired, so gorgeous, you wonder how the rest of the opera can be so
comparatively uninteresting (at least to a rube like me!)
Synopsis : In an attempt to close the trap which she has set for Samson,
Dalila tells Samson seductively that she is completely his if he wants her.
She begs him to respond to her caresses, hoping that he will finally let go
of all other things and concentrate completely on her, allowing the High
Priest of Dagon to capture him.
Translation, about the aria:
EXTRA: Er, here is another aria involving the same story:
from Offenbach's comic operetta, "Le Perichole," here is the profoundly moving
moment, "Ah, What a Lunch I Just Had." I defy you to not break down,
weeping. Teresa Berganza, sated soprano.
what a lunch I have just
And what extraordinary wine!
I drank so much of it, so much, so much,
That I am fairly certain that now
I am a little tipsy
We must not let anyone know
If my speech is somewhat vague,
If whilst walking I
If my eye wanders,
Do not be astonished, because
I am a little tipsy. . .
je viens de faire
Et quel vin extraordinaire!
J’en ai tant bu, mais tant tant
tant,Que je crois bien que maintenant
un peu grise.
Faut pas qu’on le dise
Si ma parole
est un peu vague,
Si tout en marchant je zigzague,
mon œil est égrillard,
Il ne faut s’en étonner, car
un peu grise
Ridiculous to sublime. . ."Nuit Resplendissante" ("Shining Night"), from the
opera,"Cinq Mars," by Charles Gounod. The soprano is Charlotte
Tirard, from 1929. Why have I never heard this before? Why have you
never heard this before?
No translation available (not that one is needed.)
Here's the Francais:
The castle of the marquis de Cinq-Mars.
A choir of noblemen celebrates the imminent
importance Cinq-Mars is going to take ("A la Cour vous allez paraître");
some suggest that he owes his debt of allegiance to the Cardinal of
Richelieu, and others to the King. For his part, Cinq-Mars shows himself
indifferent to the questions of political order. Alone with his closest
friend, de Thou, he confesses that he loves princess Marie de Gonzague
("Henri! Vous nous parliez"). They recognize both intuitively that this
affair will end badly. The guests reappear: among them is Father Joseph, the
spokesman for the Cardinal of Richelieu, and the Princess Marie. The first
one announces that Cinq-Mars is called to the royal court, and that a
marriage is arranged between Princess Marie and the King of Poland.
Cinq-Mars and Marie agree to meet later in the evening. After the departure
of the guests, Marie wishes her heart to be at peace in the sweetness of the
night("Nuit resplendissante"). Cinq-Mars walks in and declares his love to
her; before he leaves, she declares herself in turn ("Ah! Vous m'avez
pardonné ma folie").
There's a place in France/
where the ladies wear. . .men's pants. Here's a "trouser role" (also a
"sideburns role," in this case) aria for mezzo from "Romeo and Juliet," by Gounod.
Cora Burggraaf sings "Que fais-tu?" ("What are you doing?")
Setting: A street in Verona, Italy, 14th
Synopsis: Stephano baits the Capulets with
this mocking song which states that the white dove of the Capulets (which
symbolizes Juliet) will go free one day (implying that she will choose to
leave the Capulet family to marry Romeo).
About "trouser roles:"
"Do You Know The Land Where
The Orange Tree Blossoms?" (Well, I used to, but it's all freeways now.)
From "Mignon." "Connais-tu le pays où fleurit l'oranger?"
Magdalena Kozena, soprano.
Setting: In the first act of Thomas' opera,
Mignon, the beautiful Mignon is rescued by Wilhelm and Lothario from the
torment and abuse of her Gypsy captor who kidnapped her when she was very
young. After splitting a bouquet of flowers between the two men as a token
of her gratitude, she speaks with Wilhelm about her past. She tells him
about her abduction, then describes her past home with such lovely details
in this aria.
Opened with a tenor aria from
Offenbach, so will close with this decidedly goofy exalting of love from Les
Contes d' Hoffman. Placido Domingo in his prime with "Amis, l'amour tendre
et reveur, erreur!" "Friends, dreaming and tender love---a mistake!" (Yes,
Setting: Giulietta's palace, Venice, 19th century
Synopsis: After Nicklausse and Giulietta sing a melancholy duet about love
and the beauty of the night, Hoffmann sings them a happier tune of drinking