"Pronta io son," soprano/baritone duet from Donizetti's comic opera Don Pasquale.

Ernesto wishes to marry Norina, but his crotchety old uncle, Don Pasquale, disapproves of the match because Norina is poor. To punish his nephew, Don Pasquale resolves to take a wife and disinherit him. Doctor Malatesta, a friend of the couple, comes up with a plan to trick Don Pasquale. In this scene, he explains the plan to Norina, who joins in enthusiastically.

For sure, that old man's head is going to spin this time. )
"Chi mi frena in tal momento," the famous sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor. Lucy Ashton (Lucia) has fallen in love with Edgar of Ravenswood (Edgardo), whose family has been at enmity with hers. When her brother Henry (Enrico) discovers this, he does everything possible to separate the couple, including showing Lucy a forged letter that indicates Edgar has married another woman. Henry finally browbeats Lucy into a marriage with the politically well-connected Lord Arthur (Arturo). A few moments after Lucy and Arthur sign the marriage contract, Edgar bursts into the hall. Lucy faints. All present express their varied emotions.

Like a wilting rose, she stands between life and death )
"Appressati, Lucia" -- scene for baritone and soprano from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Lucy Ashton (Lucia) has fallen in love with Edgar of Ravenswood (Edgardo), an enemy of her family. Her brother Henry (Enrico) wishes her to marry Lord Arthur (Arturo) to repair the family's political fortunes. When Lucy refuses, Henry shows her a forged letter stating that Edgar has married another woman.

The anger in my heart is quenched; quench your mad love. )
"Oh! qual parlar fu il suo! . . . Tremate voi? . . . Fama! Sì: l'avrete," scene and duet from Donizetti's Anna Bolena (Anne Boleyn). Henry VIII (Enrico) tells Jane Seymour (Giovanna) that he wishes to dissolve his marriage to Anne and marry her.

Anne too offered me her love, dreaming of the English throne )
"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? )
"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 )
"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. )
"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! )


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