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... )
opera_cat: (historical)
( Mar. 31st, 2011 11:20 pm)
I have gone back to working on a more ambitious project, to wit, translating an entire opera. I started with Verdi's first opera, Oberto conte di S. Bonifacio. The cast of characters and introduction may be found here, or by clicking on the opera: oberto tag. I am experiencing computer trouble at the moment, but I hope to post the whole opera in segments over the next few weeks.
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. )
opera_cat: (baritones)
( Nov. 5th, 2010 04:45 pm)
It looks like I won't be able to keep up the pace of a post every day, after all. Some scenes (like this one) are longer and more complicated and so take more time. Thanks to the commenters at [ profile] linguaphiles and my mother for helping me with some confusing bits. As always, any remaining mistakes are entirely mine.

Giuseppe Verdi's opera Don Carlos, first set to a French libretto in 1867, is more commonly performed in its revised Italian version, Don Carlo. In this powerful scene for bass and baritone, King Philip II of Spain (Philippe) questions Rodrigo (Rodrigue), the idealistic Marquis of Posa, and gets more than he bargained for.

I have never heard this stranger whose name is Truth! )
"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 )
"Dein ist mein ganzes Herz!" tenor aria from Franz Lehár's operetta Das Land des Lächelns (The Land of Smiles). This aria was written for Richard Tauber.

When I hear the sound of your voice, it is just like music. )
"Vous qui faites l'endormie," Mephistopheles's aria from Gounod's Faust. Mephistopheles sings a mocking serenade outside Marguerite's house.

Don't open the door, my beauty, until the ring is on your finger. )
"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. )
opera_cat: (treble ahead)
( Nov. 1st, 2010 12:17 pm)
Greetings, readers. I'm sorry for the recent hiatus; I was busy helping out with a friend's concert, and that took a lot of my time. But part of the help included doing some translations for the program, so I have a new batch of translations for you. Expect one post a day (or more) for the immediate future.

As always, if you have questions, comments, or requests, let me know.
"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 )


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