Giuseppe Verdi


A weekly Quixotic pursuit for appreciators of opera who don't expect too much, would-be appreciators of opera who don't know what to expect, and those somewhere in-between,
such as your host.

Thrown together in haste every
Saturdee morning by
Rip Rense

Giacomo Puccini

OPRY LINKS 3: Stuck in France

Jussi Bjorling

Saturdee Opry Links Overture!
"The Thieving Magpie," by Rossini

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:

And while off on Offenbach, here's the "Barcarolle" from "L'Contes de Hoffmann." "Lovely Night, O Night of Love." With Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca.
French and English:
Lovely night, 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
Burning zephyrs
Embrace us with your caresses!
Burning zephyrs
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:œur_s%27ouvre_à_ta_voix

EXTRA: Er, here is another aria involving the same story:

 And 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 had,
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. . .

l dîner
je viens de faire
Et quel vin extraordinaire!
J’en ai tant bu, mais tant tant
tant,Que je crois bien que maintenant
Je suis un peu grise.
Mais chut!
Faut pas qu’on le dise

Si ma parole est un peu vague,
Si tout en marchant je zigzague,
Si tout mon œil est égrillard,
Il ne faut s’en étonner, car
Je suis 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:
Act 1: 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 century
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.
About Mignon:

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, usually so!)
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 and laughter.
Summary, translation:


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