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

OPERA LINKS Feb 01, 2014

1. There are more haunting, almost eerie arias in opera, but no more so than this one. The ethereally beautiful, "Je Crois Entendre Encore" ("I Still Believe I Hear"), a yearning for a mysterious love, from "The Pearl Fishers," by Bizet. Translation below.
NPR: "The Pearl Fishers: Bizet's Other Opera."
About "The Pearl Fishers," plot summary:

The words and their English translation:
Je crois entendre encore,
Caché sous les palmiers,
Sa voix tendre et sonore
Comme un chant de ramier!
O nuit enchanteresse!
Divin ravissement!
O souvenir charmant!
Folle ivresse! doux rêve!
Aux clartés des étoiles,
Je crois encore la voir,
Entr’ouvrir ses longs voiles
Aux vents tièdes du soir!
O nuit enchanteresse!
Divin ravissement!
O souvenir charmant!
Folle ivresse! doux rêve!
Charmant souvenir!

I still believe I hear
hidden beneath the palm trees
her voice, tender and deep
like the song of a dove
oh enchanting night
divine rapture
delightful memory
mad intoxication, sweet dream.
In the clear starlight
I still believe I see her
half drawing her long veil
to the warm night breeze.
Oh enchanting night
divine rapture
delightful memory
mad intoxication, sweet dream.
Charming memory.
- See more at:
2. Also from "Bizet's other opera," "The Pearl Fishers." “Comme Autrefois.” Setting: The ruins of a Hindu temple in Ceylon in ancient times
Synopsis: Léïla realizes that she loves Nadir. She sings of this newfound love and the care with which Nadir guards her from harm.
About, translation:
3. The beloved "Pearl Fishers" duet: Au Fond Du Temple Saint." "In the Depths of the Temple"
In the duet, "Au fond du temple saint" the two men sing rapturously about falling in love at first sight with a beautiful woman as she was revealed to them for an instant in the dim, incense-clouded temple. For each it was an almost mystical experience. When they realize they were in love with the same woman, they are alarmed. Believing themselves cured of the old infatuation, they swear eternal friendship.
4. We'll be back after this important word.
5. From Puccini's lesser known, early opera, "Edgar." "Addio, mio dolce amor." Synopsis: Fidelia believes that Edgar has died as a great hero in battle. At his funeral, she sings farewell to her one true love, asking him to wait for her in Heaven.
Translation unavailable.
Addio, addio mio dolce amor!
Nell'ombra ove discendi,
Solenne, infinita anch'io verrò...
Dove tu regni dolor,
La gioventù non ha più fior!
Addio ancora, addio, o Edgar,
La tua memoria sarà
Il mio sol pensiero!
Lassù, nella tua gloria,
M'attendi, Edgar!

6.Also from Puccini's "Edgar," a lesser known and much-struggled-with opera. "Questo Amor."
Synopsis: Frank looks at Tigrana from afar and sings of his love for her. He has grown up with her and loves her very much, but she does not return the love and, in fact, thinks that being Frank's lover would be sinful since they are almost like brother and sister.
No translation available.
"Edgar" bears similarities to Bizet's "Carmen."
Parallels to Bizet's Carmen are numerous. Both operas feature a confused young man (tenor: Edgar, Don José) who is struggling to choose between the pure chaste love of his home town girl (soprano: Fidelia, Micaëla) and the consuming passion of an exotic gypsy (mezzo-soprano: Tigrana, Carmen).
7. Another lesser known Puccini gem. "Torna ai Felici Di," from "Le Villi" ("The Fairies.") "Bring Back the Happy Days." (I'll drink to that.) Young Placido Domingo.
Synopsis : Anna has been killed by fairies that were conjured by a witch that seduced Roberto when he was away in Mainz. However, he does not find this out until after it happens. Roberto is filled with remorse at letting himself be seduced by another woman and is shocked to find out then that his true love is now dead at the hand of the same witch.
About the opera:
Returns to those happy days
When May was gay with flowers
And love blossomed for me!
Then everything was blackened
By lugubrious mysteries,
And now in my heart there is
Naught but sadness and terror!
Perhaps she still lives!
(he looks at Anna's house, hesitates, then walks towards it)
I shall knock!
(about to knock, he steps back as though restrained by some mysterious force)
What a shudder ran through me!
I could not lift
My hand to her door!
Here is a look at a nice production version of this aria. Tenor Yoshihisa Yamaji.
8. And here is the "hit aria" from Puccini's "Le Villi," "Se come voi piccina," ("If I were tiny, like you"), here in a nice production with Atsuko Azuma, who is nothing if not game. Synopsis : Anna puts her bouquet from her engagement celebration in Roberto's luggage. He is about to leave to go to Mainz where he has been left a fortune. She hopes that he will think of her when he looks at the flowers.
Far superior version by Renata Scotto:
Se come voi piccina io fossi, o vaghi fior,
If I were tiny like you, or a wild flower
sempre sempre vicina potrei stare al mio amor.
I could always be close to my love
Allor dirgli vorrei: "Io penso sempre a te!"
Then I would like to tell him: "I'm thinking of you!"
Ripetergli potrei: "Non to scordar di me!"
I could be able to repeat to him: "Don't forget about me!"
Voi, di me... piu felici, lo seguirete, o fior;
You, who are happier than me, will follow him, or flowers,
per valli e per pendici seguirete il mio amor.
in the vallyes and on the slopes, you will follow my love
Ah, se il nome che avete menzognero non e,
Oh, if the name you have is not lying,
deh! al mio amor ripetete: "Non ti scordar di me!"
then repeat to my love: "Don't forget about me!"
9.And while dealing somewhat with lesser known Puccini, here is a great, beautiful song by Puccini, "Morire," ("To Die.") Sung by Placido Domingo.
10. To end on a more up note, here is the Opry Links favorite, “Vivere,” (“To Live”), as sung by the great Tito Schipa.
To Live (Vivere)

What a magnificent day
what a day to celebrate
my girl has left me
I'm free at last!

I've got my life back
and I intend to enjoy it.
when she left she said she wouldn't come back

Now I can live without misery
live without jealousy
with no regrets
with no concerns about love

I can enjoy the flowers, enjoy life
and still my feelings

I can laugh and be happy
I can laugh at a foolish world
I can live while I am still young
because life is beautiful
and I want to live more of it

Women want you to act in
in the comedy of love
they want you to play the
romantic lead
but when the curtain comes down in act 3
your faced with reality
Her romantic drama is a farce

Live! even if you feel a little nostalgic
I'm not bitter any more
I'm happy for the guy who took her away
To live while I'm young
Because life is beautiful

Original Italian here (and great photographic history of the song.)

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