Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Promise this is the Last Opera Post for a While

Jacques Offenbach's wild and wonderful opera "The Tales of Hoffman" follows a love starved poet through three calamitous love affairs.  Through all, he is sheltered and protected by his muse who offers the consolation of his passion for his art.  The muse is usually played by a woman and is scored for a mezzo-soprano voice.  In Act 3, Hoffman has travelled to Venice in search of the feckless Giulietta, who has elevated hedonism to a fine art.  His ever faithful muse observes the goings on and begins a simple barcarolle.  A barcarolle is sung in the style and meter of a gondolier, poling his boat forward shaping the lilting rhythm of his song.  The muse is joined in her song by Giulietta.  The song leaves no doubt what the evening will bring.  Here are the words of their song in English:

Lovely night, oh night of love
Smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day
Oh beautiful night of love!
Time flies by, and carries away
Our tender caresses for ever
Time flies far from this happy oasis
And does not return
Burning zephyrs
Give us you kisses!
Your kisses! your kisses! ah!
Lovely night oh night of love
Smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day
Oh beautiful night of love!
Ah! Smile upon our joys
Night of love, oh night of love!

And here is a lovely rendition.

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