At the request of an anonymous commenter on LJ, here is "Ecco l'orrido campo . . . Ma dall'arido stelo" from Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera.

Although she is married, Amelia has fallen in love with the royal governor, Riccardo. She goes for help to the fortune-teller Ulrica, who tells her that to eliminate her guilty passion, Amelia must pick a certain herb from the foot of the gallows at midnight. Arriving at the place, Amelia is terrified and finds herself strangely reluctant to pick the herb.

What remains to you, once love is lost? )
An anonymous commenter on LJ has requested three arias: this one, "Poveri Fiori" from Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur and Amelia's aria in the graveyard from Un Ballo in Maschera. Here is "Pace, pace, mio Dio!" from Verdi's opera La Forza del Destino; the others will follow at some point.

Despairing, Leonora has retired to a life of prayer in a remote place. She prays to God for peace but confesses that her soul is still troubled by the memory of her love.

Only death can give me calm )
Continuing my translation-by-installments, here is Act II, scene 1 of Verdi's opera Oberto conte di S. Bonifacio (Oberto, Count of San Bonifacio). To see the complete translation, click on the opera: oberto tag.

Read more... )
Later than I expected, but here is the second scene of Verdi's opera Oberto conte di S. Bonifacio (Oberto, Count of San Bonifacio). To see the complete translation, click on the opera: oberto tag.

Read more... )
At the request of an anonymous commenter on LJ, here is "Morrò, ma prima in grazia," Amelia's aria from Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera. Thanks to the commenters at [ profile] linguaphiles for help with an idiom.

Renato suspects his wife Amelia of infidelity and resolves to kill her. She begs for a last moment with her son.

now that the last of my fleeting hours has come )
Here is the first part in my translation of Verdi's first opera, Oberto conte di S. Bonifacio (Oberto, Count of San Bonifacio). To see the rest of the opera, once I have posted all the scenes, just click on the opera: oberto tag.

Read more... )
That was a short translation, so have another one to go with it. This is Elettra's recitative and aria "D'Oreste, d'Ajace" from Mozart's opera Idomeneo. Thwarted in both her love and her ambition, Elettra vents her feelings in this dramatic aria.

This translation is not quite line-by-line, since I have shifted some words around for the sake of clarity.

Tear apart my heart, horned snakes, serpents )
"Porgi, amor," the Countess Almaviva's aria from Mozart's opera Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The Countess laments the Count's neglect of her.

or at least let me die )
This is the Act I Finale of Puccini's Turandot, set in an imaginary fairy-tale China. It is a complicated piece to translate because everyone is talking at once and their phrases overlap at different times. I have tried here to break it up into reasonable blocks of text.

I feel I should say, this scene is really not about the words. The way Puccini has set it, it's impossible to follow all the words while listening even if you know Italian. But it doesn't matter: the characters' emotions come through clearly, and the way the scene gradually builds in dramatic tension always makes me hold my breath. But I thought it would be interesting to step away for a moment and see what the words are.

The Prince (Calaf) has fallen in love with Turandot at first sight. He wishes to strike the gong in order to enter her riddle contest: if he succeeds, he marries the princess, but if he fails, he loses his head. His aged father Timur and the young slave Liù, who is in love with Calaf, desperately try to persuade him to change his mind. The three court officials hold him back and add their more practical arguments.

We're already digging a grave for you who want to challenge love! )
"Tu fosti tradito," mezzo-soprano aria from Mozart's opera La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus). This opera is set in ancient Rome during the reign of the emperor Titus. In this aria, Annio pleads with the emperor to spare his friend's life.

but Titus's heart still allows us to hope )
Returning after a hiatus!

Nabucco was Verdi's third opera and his first hit. It is loosely based on the Biblical stories of Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucodonosor) and the Babylonian Exile. As frequently happens in opera, the libretto shows little acquaintance with Biblical Judaism or actual history. However, if you can put that aside, there is glorious music, some highly dramatic confrontations, a soprano villain with a notoriously difficult part, and an unusual mad scene for baritone. Nabucco includes the well-known chorus "Va, pensiero," which became an unofficial anthem of the Italian Risorgimento.

Today I am posting a different chorus: "Il maledetto non ha fratelli." In this scene, the Jewish religious leaders curse Ismaele for betraying his people by saving Nabucco's daughter.

In vain he readies the poison for his lips, in vain the dagger strikes his heart! )
"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! )
"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. )


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