Weekly Video #5

As promised last week, this week’s video is a more cheerful clip which will hopefully lighten your spirits in preparation for whatever horrors Monday may hold for you. Here is the great Pavarotti singing Rossini’s La Danza from the Lincoln Centre in 1988 with Maestro James Levine at the piano.

The lyrics:

: Già la luna è in mezzo al mare,
mamma mia, si salterà!
L’ora è bella per danzare,
chi è in amor non mancherà. 😐
Già la luna è in mezzo al mare,
mamma mia, si salterà!

Presto in danza a tondo, a tondo,
donne mie venite qua,
un garzon bello e giocondo
a ciascuna toccherà,
finchè in ciel brilla una stella
e la luna splenderà.
Il più bel con la più bella
tutta notte danzerà.

Mamma mia, mamma mia,
già la luna è in mezzo al mare,
mamma mia, mamma mia,
mamma mia, si salterà.
|: Frinche, frinche, frinche,
frinche, frinche, frinche,
mamma mia, si salterà. 😐

La la ra la ra
la ra la la ra la
(repeated twice)
la la ra la ra
la la la la ra la!

|: Salta, salta, gira, gira,
ogni coppia a cerchio va,
già s’avanza, si ritira
e all’assalto tornerà. 😐
Già s’avanza, si ritira
e all’assalto tornerà!

Sera, sera, colla bionda,
colla bruna và quà e là
colla rossa và a seconda,
colla smorta fermo sta.
Viva il ballo a tondo a tondo,
sono un Re, sono un Pascià,
è il più bel piacer del mondo
la più cara voluttà.

A Teeny Tiny Mistake

In honour of tonight’s opening night at the Metropolitan (which, if you’ve been hibernating for the last few weeks, is a new production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore by Bartlett Sher starring La Netrebko and Matthew Polenzani) , starting at 7, I decided to spend part of this evening browsing the Met Opera Shop.

And guess what I found:


Wait, what?



That’s right, they even included a reference to that renowned opera, Cavalleria Rusticana, by Verdi. Oh, dear. Shame on the Met.





Weekly Video #4

It’s that time of week again! Tomorrow, as we should all know, is an important day in the opera world – the opening night at the Metropolitan Opera! So, to celebrate this, here is a clip from an opera that is being brought back for this season – Dialogues des Carmelites. This is the painfully beautiful Salve Regina that the nuns sing as they go to their deaths at the guillotine. With Leontyne Price and Maria Ewing (and I promise something more cheerful for next week!)

Franco Corelli – Il Principe di Tenori

You may recall that a bit ago, I posted about my latest visit to the record shop. And one of the CDs I bought was (for only £5.99!) The Perfect (Italian) Tenor, a collection of Italian arias sung by Franco Corelli.

This is the track list:

Giuseppe VERDI(1813 – 1901)
1.Se quel guerrier io fossi … Celeste Aida
2.Merce diletti amici … Come rugiada al cespite
I Lombardi
3.La mia letizia infondere
La forza del destino
4.La vita inferno … O tu che seno in angeli
Il trovatore
5.Deserto sulla terra
6.Ah, si ben mio … Di quella pira
Umberto GIORDANO(1867 – 1948)
Andrea Chenier
7.Improvviso: Un di all’azzuro spazio
8.Come un bel di di maggio
9.Amor ti vieta
10.Mia madre, la mia vecchia madre … Vedi io piango
Pietro MASCAGNI(1863 – 1945)
Cavalleria rusticana
11.Mamma quell vino e generoso
12.Se Franz dicesse il vero
Francesco CILEA(1866 – 1950)
Adriana Lecouvreur
13.La dolcissima effige
Giacomo PUCCINI(1858 – 1924)
La fanciulla del West
14.Una parola sola! … Or son sei mesi
Madama Butterfly
15.Addio fiorito asil
16.E lucevan le stelle
17.Non piangere Liù
18.Nessun dorma

Well, what can I say? It’s not perfect, but it’s as close to perfection as anyone could hope for it to be. It’s (obviously) an old recording, but Corelli’s voice manages to shine through almost all the sound quality problems. I say almost all, because the Nessun dorma at the end has the classic this-was-recorded-underwater sound to it, which distorts his high notes a bit.

My picks for the best tracks of this album are as follows:

Celeste Aida – This rendition has the simultaneous bravado and tenderness that perfectly captures the emotions of this song. Comparing this to Roberto Alagna’s version certainly clears up the mystery of why the loggionisti booed Alagna when he tried to sing it at La Scala.

Deserto sulla terra – Perfect if you need to convert somebody to Corellism, but only have a couple of minutes to do it in.

Di quella pira – This is the only recording of this aria that I’ve heard that can equal Pavarotti’s. Again, I love how his tone changes from romantic to heroic in a matter of seconds. The sound’s fine on this one, apart from some strange whizzing noises in the background.

Come un bel di di maggio – In my opinion, this is the best track in the album. Heartbreakingly soft and painfully strong by turns, this is my favourite of all recordings of this aria.

Mamma, quel vino e generoso – A gorgeous piece of verismo opera, which suits Corelli’s voice perfectly. The stifled sobs work better in this aria than in some of the others.

Or son sei mesi – I’m not really a fan of La Fanciulla del West but his singing brings the rather flat emotions completely to life again and breathes his magic into the music.

E lucevan le stelle – One of my favourite arias, one of my favourite tenors, perfection. Need I say more?

Non piangere Liu – Again, you can hear Calaf’s emotional struggle reflected in his voice. (In case you’re wondering, there is no input from Liu or Timur in this rendition)

So all in all, I would seriously recommend this recording to anyone who likes this kind of repertoire and/or wants to discover one of the greatest tenors who ever lived. You won’t be disappointed.

Weekly Video #3

Jonas Kaufmann sings ‘Pourqoui me réveiller’ from Massenet’s Werther.

Now, I’m not usually a Massenet fan but even I have to admit that this aria is incredibly beautiful. And no more so than when sung by the wonderful (and handsome 😉 ) Jonas Kaufmann. In this scene, the poet Werther returns to his love Charlotte, who is married to Albert but secretly loves Werther anyway. In this aria, he reads her a poem in which the poet foresees his death. She begs him to stop but then refuses to leave her husband. For the rest of the story go here. With Sophie Koch.

The lyrics and translation:

Ah!  Bien souvent mon rêve s’envole 		Ah! How often my dream takes flight
Sur l’aile de ces vers, 			On the wing of these verses, 
et c’est toi, cher poète			and it’s you, dear poet,
qui, bien plutôt, était mon interprète! 	who, quite soon, was my interpreter!
Toute mon âme est là! 				All  my soul  is there!

"Pourquoi me réveiller, ô souffle du printemps?	"Why awaken me, oh breath of spring?
Pourquoi me réveiller? 				Why awaken me?
Sur mon front, je sens tes caresses 		On my brow, I feel your caresses,
Et pourtant bien proche est le temps 		and yet, very close is the time
des orages et des tristesses! 			of storms and of sorrows!
"Pourquoi me réveiller, ô souffle du printemps? "Why awaken me, oh breath of spring?
Demain dans le vallon viendra le voyageur, 	Tomorrow in the valley will come the voyager,
Se souvenant de ma gloire première. 		Remembering my first glory.
Et ses yeux vainement chercheront ma splendor, 	and his eyes vainly will seek my splendor,
Ils ne trouveront plus que deuil et que misère!	They will find only mourning and suffering!
Hélas!  					Alas!  
"Pourquoi me réveiller, ô souffle du printemps?	"Why awaken me, oh breath of spring?

New Purchases

So, earlier this morning I went down to my (amazing, wonderful, brilliant) well-stocked local record shop with £20. I am now back at home with £5.02 and two new CDs. The rest of my morning has been spent in the delightful anticipation of listening to these CDs, but first I will just tell you what they are.


Very excited to have this recording, because Franco Corelli is one of my all-time FAV 🙂 URITE tenors. Apart from the arias listed on the cover, it also has arias from Ernani, I Lombardi, La Forza del Destino, Andrea Chenier, Cavalleria Rusticana, Adriana Lecouvreur and Madama Butterfly. Obviously the sound quality won’t be perfect because the recordings were made in the ’50s but who cares, it’s still Corelli.

And also:

Now, I know that a lot of people don’t like La G (aka Draculette) because of her cancellations and her temperament and the various stories about her diva-ishness. I don’t know how many of these are true but all rumours have at least 1% truth and the cancellations are certainly no lie. But whatever people may think, you can’t deny that this woman has THE VOICE. She can SING. Which, when you think about it, is quite a good quality for a singer to have (*cough cough* pop music industry). So, leaving aside the arguments about her attendance record, this CD has arias from Butterfly, Tosca, Boheme, La Fanciulla del West, Manon Lescaut, Edgar (that’s the one that is never performed), her trademark Rondine, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Le Villi (also rarely performed) and Turandot. Quite predictable stuff, but hopefully the singing will live up to the name.

Elina Garanca: New Album

Elina Garanca’s new album Romantique has been released today. Unfortunately, it won’t be coming out in the UK until October 1st and in the USA until October 23rd, but you can preorder it on Amazon. Also, more information about the recording from Deutsche Grammophon here. This album has songs by Donizetti, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Gounod, Vaccai, Lalo and Berlioz – full track list on the DG website. There is a music video of one of the songs here. The video is a bit strange but her singing is lovely. Will any of you be buying this CD?

Personally, I love this picture of her on the cover. What do you think?

Weekly Video #2

Son lo spirito che nega

This is one of my favourite clips – Samuel Ramey singing Son lo spirito che nega from Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito.

These are the lyrics:             and the translation:

Son lo Spirito I am the Spirit
Che nega sempre, tutto; that eternally denies everything:
L’astro, il fior. the star, the flower.
Il mio ghigno e la mia bega My mocking laughter and my quarrelling
Turbano gli ozi al Creator. disturb the Creator’s rest.
Voglio il Nulla e del Creato I seek Annihilation and Creation’s
La ruina universal, universal ruin,
È atmosfera mia vital, my breath of life
Ciò che chiamasi peccato, is that which is called sin,
Morte e Mal. Death and Evil.
Rido e avvento questa sillaba: “No!” I laugh and I hurl this word: “No!”
Struggo, tento, ruggo, sibilo: “No!” I devour, I tempt, I roar, I hiss: “No!”
Mordo, invischio, I gnaw, I stir things up,
Struggo, tento, ruggo, sibilo: I devour, I tempt, I roar, I hiss: “No!”
Fischio! Fischio! Fischio! Eh! I whistle mockingly! I whistle! I whistle! Hey!
Parte son d’una latebra I am part of a lurking-place
Del gran tutto: Oscurità. of the great all-in-all: Shadow.
Son figliuol della Tenebra I am a son of the Darkness
Che Tenebra tornerà. that to Darkness will return.
S’or la luce usurpa e afferra If for now the light usurps and seizes
Il mio scettro a ribellion, my scepter in rebellion,
Poco andrà la sua tenzon: soon will come its battle:
V’è sul Sole e sulla Terra, Distruzion! over the Sun and over the Earth, is Destruction!
Rido e avvento questa sillaba: “No!” I laugh and I hurl this word: “No!”
Struggo, tento, ruggo, sibilo: “No!” I devour, I tempt, I roar, I hiss: “No!”
Mordo, invischio, I gnaw, I stir things up,
Struggo, tento, ruggo, sibilo: I devour, I tempt, I roar, I hiss: “No!”
Fischio! Fischio! Fischio! Eh! I whistle in mockery! I whistle! I whistle! Hey!

Translation by the wonderful Opera Cat.

Subtitles in Italian

The Betrayal of Utube – Weekly Video #1.5

So, irritatingly, the video I posted a few days ago has been TAKEN OFF UTUBE!!! I’ve noticed this happening to quite a few nice complete operas on Utube and I think this probably means that the broadcasters are snapping them up for copyright reasons. Cue the scouting around to try and find another Figaro of the same quality that I enjoyed as much. The best I could find ( and it is good) is from the Met in 1999. It stars Cecilia Bartoli, Bryn Terfel. Once you get over the shock of a relatively young-looking Terfel and Cecilia’s hideous dresses, it is actually very good (although I still preferred the other one).

And because I am so wonderful, here are the links to all parts of it, in order:

Act 1

Part 1     Part 2      Part 3     Part 4

Act 2

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6

Act 3

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

Act 4

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

Which one do you prefer, this one or the previous one?

UPDATE ~~~ Just going on to Utube again this morning to discover some bad news: it’s not just full operas that are being taken off the internet. The wonderful coloraturafan has uploaded this video asking for help with copyright issues. Apparently someone has snitched on them and so their channel may have to close, taking with it what is definitely one of the best opera collections on Utube. So, if anyone has any idea how to stop this happening, please help (I don’t understand all the copyright rules and so can’t do much more than offer sympathy)!