Monday, June 11, 2007

Opera Week on WJSB: Episode One

What's opera week you ask? ...my dear three or four readers, just thought I'd pause from the political temporarily and stick with some art this week. Gotta kick it off with the clown, no?

Here's one of the greatest voices of all time, Giuseppe Di Stefano, singing Vesti la giubba from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. "Vesti la Giubba is the conclusion of the first act, where Canio (Pagliaccio) discovers his wife's infidelity, but must prepare for performance as the 'show must go on'. " (w)


Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio,
non so più quel che dico,
e quel che faccio!
Eppur è d'uopo, sforzati!
Bah! sei tu forse un uom?
Tu se' Pagliaccio!

Vesti la giubba,
e la faccia in farina.
La gente paga, e rider vuole qua.
E se Arlecchin t'invola Colombina,
ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirà!
Tramuta in lazzi lo spasmo ed il pianto;
in una smorfia il singhiozzo il dolor, Ah!

Ridi, Pagliaccio,
sul tuo amore infranto!
Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!

Play the part! Grabbed by delirium,
I know no longer what I say
or what I'm doing
And yet it's necessary, force yourself!
Bah! aren't you a man?
You're the clown!

Put on the costume
and white powder on your face
The public's paying and wants to have a laugh.
If Arlecchino runs off with Colombina
laugh, clown and everyone will applaud.
Change into laughs the spasms and the tears;
into a grimace the sobbing and the pain.

Laugh, clown,
of your broken love.
Laugh of the pain that poisons your heart.


This recording of Vesti la giubba by Enrico Caruso "on a 78 RPM shellac record" was the first 1 million-selling recording in history.(w)