"Je veux vivre," soprano aria from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (Romeo and Juliet). Before falling in love, Juliet rejoices in her youth and innocence.

then comes the hour when one weeps, the heart yields to love )
"Israele, che vuoi? . . . Se pur giungi a trucidarlo," baritone/bass duet from Donizetti's opera Marino Faliero. This opera, set in Venice, is loosely based on historical events. In this scene, Israele Bertucci urges the Doge to join a conspiracy.

Note: I have used the text of the scene as performed on the CD No Tenors Allowed by Thomas Hampson and Samuel Ramey, which may vary from other versions of the libretto. (An excellent CD, by the way!)

Ah, Faliero! Where is your sword which saved our country then? )
"Der Hölle Rache," the Queen of the Night's aria from Mozart's opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).

Hear, gods of vengeance! )
"Dio, che mi vedi in core . . . Sul suo capo . . . Va, infelice," soprano/mezzo-soprano duet from Act II of Gaetano Donizetti's opera Anna Bolena (Anne Boleyn).

Henry VIII of England divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, in order to marry Anne Boleyn. When Anne did not bear him a son, he accused her of adultery and had her executed so that he could marry for a third time. In this scene, we see a dramatic version of the confrontation between Anne (Anna) and her attendant Jane Seymour (Giovanna), soon to replace her as queen.

May the longed-for crown turn to thorns upon her brow )
Verdi's opera Don Carlos was originally performed in French, but is better known in its Italian version, Don Carlo. This time, I have chosen to translate the French version of this duet, in which Rodrigue tries to console his friend Don Carlos for the arranged marriage of his beloved Elisabeth to Carlos's father King Philip. The two men swear eternal brotherhood and devotion to the cause of liberty. The Italian version is "Dio, che nell'alma infondere." In my opinion, this duet deserves to be better known. It may well be the most beautiful tenor/baritone duet I am familiar with, the only rival being "Au fond du temple saint" from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers.

I have omitted some background lines sung by the chorus and the Monk.

Let us be united in life and death )
"Cheti, cheti immantinente" (baritone/bass duet from Donizetti's Don Pasquale).

Since this is a comic scene, I have taken some liberty in translating the tenses.

You're in the trap, you'll have to stay there. )
"Die Frist ist um," the Dutchman's opening monologue from Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman). This is one of my favorite pieces of opera in existence. Listen to it, if you haven't.

Thanks to my many excellent friends who discussed aspects of the translation with me. Any remaining mistakes and infelicities are entirely mine.

Nowhere a grave! Never death! This is damnation's terrible decree. )
"Cruda, funesta smania" and "La pietade in suo favore," Enrico's aria and cabaletta from Lucia di Lammermoor. Henry (Enrico) reacts to the news that his sister has secretly fallen in love with the son of an enemy family.

The sinful flame which consumes you, I will quench with blood! )
I have just figured out how to put letters with umlauts and accents in a tag! Good, I needed that superpower ability.

"Ach, ich liebte," Konstanze's aria from Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio).

I knew nothing of love's pain )
Dear readers, I have made two changes that I would like to tell you about. The first is to the tags for operas that begin with the definite or indefinite article (the, a, an) in any language. It seemed to me that someone looking for I Pagliacci will be more likely to look under P than under I. Therefore, tags for operas that begin with an article have been changed from the form opera: i pagliacci to opera: pagliacci (i). I hope that's clear. If you have any comments on these or other changes, please let me know.

The second change is that I have started cross-posting to Dreamwidth! You can follow [personal profile] opera_cat on Dreamwidth or [livejournal.com profile] opera_cat on LiveJournal. Hopefully the cross-posting will go smoothly, with entries on the two services corresponding to each other like F# and G-flat. Again, if you notice any problems or issues, please let me know.
This charming duet is from Hector Berlioz's opera Béatrice et Bénédict, based on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

The italics indicate spoken dialogue.

Thanks to my mother and Sonya Taaffe for helping me figure out a confusing sentence. Any remaining mistakes are entirely mine.

I will make it my study to displease you in everything. )
"Deserto è il luogo . . . Stolto! a un sol mio grido," scene and duet for Romeo (mezzo-soprano) and Tebaldo (tenor) from Bellini's opera I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues). In Bellini's opera, which is based on the same story as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt (Tebaldo) is Juliet's unwelcome suitor in place of Paris.

Thanks to Sonya Taaffe for helping me figure out a confusing sentence. Any remaining mistakes are entirely mine.

A hostile Divinity, a Fate, which deprives you of your reason has urged you across this threshold to meet death. )
Here is a scene and duet from Bellini's opera Norma. This opera (with very little historical accuracy, but lots of beautiful music) is set in Roman-occupied Gaul. The High Priestess Norma, although the priestesses are sworn to virginity, has secretly yielded to love and borne two children to the Roman governor Pollione. In this scene a young priestess, Adalgisa, comes to Norma with a confession. Norma is sympathetic, not yet knowing the identity of Adalgisa's lover: the fickle Pollione.

From a single glance, from a single sigh )
"Si può?" Prologue to Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera I Pagliacci.

rather than our poor costumes as actors, consider our souls )
"Ave Signor," Mefistofele's first aria from Boito's opera Mefistofele. The Prologue of the opera takes place in heaven. In this aria, Mephistopheles (the Devil) shows up to mock God, the heavenly hosts, and humanity. Thanks to the people at [livejournal.com profile] linguaphiles for helping me figure out a tricky bit of grammar. As always, any remaining mistakes are entirely mine.

that drunkard's illusion which he calls Reason )
A quick note: This journal has started to get comments from spam accounts. I intend to deal with any of those promptly and mercilessly, but if it seems like I've missed one, let me know.

Of course, comments from real people, rather than spambots, are always welcome! I don't expect this to happen, but if I have banned a legitimate account as a spammer, please e-mail me at opera (dot) translation (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will get things sorted out as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your patience while I deal with this issue.
By request of [livejournal.com profile] elendiari22, here is Lionel's aria "Ach, so fromm" from Friedrich von Flotow's opera Martha. Sorry it took a little longer than I expected. This lovely aria is often performed in Italian as "M'apparì."

You vanished, and you took my happiness with you )
opera_cat: (theory of musicality)
( Sep. 15th, 2010 01:12 pm)
This probably matters to no one except me, but I feel I need this entry for proper tagging. In this journal, I have been using the U.S. Library of Congress name authority file to choose the form of the names in the composer and librettist tags. I've finally come up with a case where the LC authorized form and the expected form are significantly different. Instead of tagging every entry with both forms wherever the name appears, I'm going to use the LC tag. In this one entry, I will give the LC and the expected form, and the tags for both. If the situation come up again, I will edit this entry to add more names.

Familiar form of name: see under LC authorized form of name.

Riese, Wilhelm Friedrich: see under Friedrich, W.
opera_cat: (baritones)
( Sep. 13th, 2010 01:53 pm)
Greetings, my faithful readers! I have a quick update and a few questions for you. I have two aria translations in progress right now -- Mefistofele's other aria from Boito and "Ach, so fromm" from Martha. Both of those arias use some archaic vocabulary that isn't in the dictionaries I have access to at home or on the internet, so posting those will be slightly delayed until I have a chance to go to the library and use the Big Dictionaries. Someday I will own big dictionaries of every language, and that will be awesome. They will be mine, all mine!

First question: I had the plan a while back of translating Verdi's obscure early operas. I got as far as a draft translation of Oberto and then got completely distracted. After I finish these two arias, should I go back to the idea of tackling whole operas, or should I keep posting random scenes and arias from a variety of sources? In either case, I can pause what I'm doing to take requests.

Second question: I've been toying with the idea of cross-posting to Dreamwidth. Do you have any opinions on that? (Like the idea, don't like it, don't care.)


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