Saturday, November 12, 2011

Verdi's La Traviata: 'Un di felice'



In Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, in Act 1, Plácido Domingo (Alfredo) and Teresa Stratas (Violetta)  perform the famous duet and aria,"Un di felice." This video clip is from Franco Zeffirelli's remarkable 1982 film, La Traviata.

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Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, an opera in three acts set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, and based on La dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the 1848 novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils, son of the famous novelist. The title La Traviata means The Fallen Woman, and it follows the tragic arc of a love affair between a courtesan (Violetta) and a nobleman (Alfredo). The words to the aria speak for themselves: Alfredo professes his love for Violetta; she initially dismisses the advance as an impossible liaison. They do eventually get together, but complications related to class and societal expectations are too strong, tearing them apart, since it really could not be. It all starts, however, with an honest and heartfelt declaration.

Here are the lyrics, as supplied by Wikipedia:

[Italian]

Alfredo
Un dì, felice, eterea,
Mi balenaste innante,
E da quel dì tremante
Vissi d'ignoto amor.
Di quell'amor ch'è palpito
Dell'universo, Dell'universo intero,
Misterioso, altero,
Croce e delizia cor.
Misterioso, Misterioso altero,
Croce e delizia al cor.

Violetta:

Ah, se ciò è ver, fuggitemi,
Solo amistade io v'offro:
Amar non so, nè soffro
Un così eroico amor.
Io sono franca, ingenua;
Altra cercar dovete;
Non arduo troverete
Dimenticarmi allor.

[English Translation]

Alfredo:

One day, you, happy, ethereal,
appeared in front of me,
and ever since,trembling,
I lived from unknowed love.
That love that's the
pulse of the universe, of the whole universe,
Mysterious, proud,
torture and delight to the heart.
Mysterious, mysterious and proud,
torture and delight to the heart.

Violetta:

Love, I fear, can never be,
Friendship is all I can offer.
Since love is pain and torment,
I avoid that strange emotion.
Pleasure is all I ask of life,
Freedom and joy forever!
So you must soon forget me
And find another love.