The marriage of figaro


Anna and Danilo meet again by chance. What has become of their former passion?



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Anna and Danilo meet again by chance. What has become of their former passion?

I rallied from the blow,

So here we are today.

A world for you and me

Was never meant to be;

There’s not a lot now left to say.
The past is over,

The rift beyond repair;

Dissolved forever

The dream we used to share,


The love you whispered,

The life that might have been.

The second chance

Will never come again.

No reason to recall the days gone by;

Never shall I waste a sigh.

Then we were young and still immature;

Youth is an ill that time will cure.

We were naïve in trusting fate,

But saw the light before too late.

The intoxication of Paris takes over:

Days of springtime, wine and rapture.

As the twirling progresses, the dancing floor spins

To the silken caresses of violins.


On a tide flowing on with the dance.

You’re a-twirl in a world ever thrilling,

Filled with the lilt of romance.


To a tune sweeter yet than before,

Arm in arm with the girl I adore,

With a smile, with a sigh,

In a spell, you and I

Are alone on a crowded floor.

Amid the glitter, Anna recalls an old folk tale of thwarted love:

Back home we tell a fairy tale,

A story some remember well,

About a phantom forest maid;

Her name was Vilya, so ’tis said.

A nymph known as Vilya

With hair spun of gold.

Beheld by a hunter

That strayed from the field,

Alas! Little wonder

His fate then was sealed.


Passion heretofore denied

No longer could the young man hide.

Vale and hill

Echo to his love song still.


Love I would follow through water and fire.

Vilya, O Vilya! I call, I implore,

Come and be mine evermore.


The wood nymph extended

Her hand with a wave

That beckoned the hunter

To come to her cave.


The lad was so stirred

That he wept with delight.

In rapture he kissed

Unaware of his plight.


Weary of his simple charms,

She vanished leaving empty arms.

Vale and hill

Echo to his love song still.


Vilya, O Vilya, my life, my desire!

Love I would follow through water and fire.

Vilya, O Vilya! I call, I implore,

Come and be mine evermore.



Ardent Camille makes a final plea to Valencienne, a married woman who, despite her feelings, is determined to remain a proud, irreproachable wife:

Full as the rose in flower,

My love perfumes the day.
It carries me to islands

Where music fills the air,

A land of golden sunshine

Because you’re always there.

That paradise enchanted

Am I to wave goodbye?

The rose so newly planted

Can you allow to die?


I beg a parting favor:

O darling! Grant to me

One parting kiss to savor

For all eternity.


There fearlessly we can embrace,

Tasting delicate delights denied.

Friendly dark will hide

Joy that no tongue will tell..

Come, open paradise again

With a tender kiss, and then –

Farewell!


In operetta, despite the perils of romance, the mix-ups and misunderstandings, the agonies of uncertainty, you can always be assured of one thing -- a happy ending. The Merry Widow is no exception.

Hearts are beating,

Both repeating, “Love me, too.”
Ev’ry sigh unspoken

Sends a message through,

Tells of two in harmony,

A dream come true.



JANACEK

 

THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN

  

The feisty little vixen urges the browbeaten hens to stand up for their rights:

 

Sisters, sisters! Why let him feed you garbage?



Helpless hens in a harem.

Who does the labor? Who gets the profit?

Stand up to him! Agitate!

Too long you’ve suffered oppression.

Demand freedom now!

Come the revolution, cry

Down with roosters! Down with tyrants!
HENS: (aghast)

No more roosters? No more roosters?

 

 VIXEN:                                                          



Why do you put up with him?

Shoving you aside,  he gorges on grain,

And only when he has stuffed himself

He offers you a bite.

 

COCK: (with rising anger)                           

Don’t be taken in!

Trumpeting rights and equality,

She’s out to destroy the family.

 

HENS:                                                     

Clearly!  Clearly!  Clearly!

 

VIXEN:                                                          

I refuse to tolerate

Spineless reactionaries!

I’ll dig a hole and die in it -- Goodbye!

 

 

The forester reminds the dryly pedantic parson of his youth, long gone:


Way back from yesterday --

Sweet time of plenty! --

Spry as bees and birds at play,

You, too, were twenty.

 

However hard we pray,



Spring soon is over.

Bones ache and teeth decay;

Arteries harden.

 

Comes winter, cold and gray;



Bare is the garden.

 

Lovers grow old and pass by as strangers.



 

The embittered parson recalls his ill-fated attempt to help out Terynka, the treacherous gypsy girl:

 

“Trust and follow the path of virtue.”



Hogwash! Some classical author probably.

Never mind! Whoever said it was mistaken.

That lesson I paid for dearly.

 

To me they entrusted homeless Terynka.



For her I opened doors of enlightenment,

Made her a Christian.

Pastor and pupil, daily we prayed together.

 

Those warm, glowing eyes!



Pools of fervor and piety!

Deep as the sea itself.

Down in that darkness lurked

Devils of every known variety.

 

Pregnant, though of course unmarried --



Who the father might have been

She would not or could not say.

Rumor was rampant, all pointed in my direction.
I had to face an angry mob

Shouting obscenities --

She allowed it to happen.

 

Thus rewarded



For a life of pious dedication!

“Memnestho aner agathos einai.”

I quote from Xenophon,

I believe verbatim.

 

Much impressed by the handsome fox, the vixen tells him her story:

  At the Forester’s lodge I was an adopted daughter,

Family member, nurtured and educated.

I  got to know  --  people!

And by and large felt ashamed of them.

Pitiful! True, the Forester was kind and friendly,

And often affectionate. 

But I found his wife impossible!

And jealous to the max.

She scolded him incessantly.

Even when not around,

She’d call in her children

To pester and pick on me.

Once when I bravely tried to fight back,

She shouted: “Just wait! Some day I’ll skin you,

Turn you into a nice fur muff.!”

 

Once half dead with hunger,



I stole some chickens.

Both with stick in hand came running,

Cursing and swearing.

Unbowed, I held my ground,

I cried: “Why, why be so stingy?

You have more than enough,

And I, nothing at all.

 

I’m too proud for begging;



What does that leave but taking?

 

Strike! Punish! Strike! Punish!



But then beware! I’ll get back at you!”

 

War was on! Action followed.



Too eager, too hasty, they were thrown off  balance.

The coast was clear. I ran to the forest,

Dank and dark as the deep dead of night,

Yet there I slept serenely.

 

Equally charmed, the fox assures the vixen of his honorable intentions: 

Understand,

I am unlike other young foxes.

For me it is not the body but the soul,

Your soul that I adore.

 

Take my word:



Unlike your average fellow

Who would charm, then abandon you,

My love is true, forever and ever.

 

Why this hesitation?



Come and sit closer to me.

Trust me!  Trust me!

Weep only tears of happiness.

Answer! Answer!

 

VIXEN: Yes! Yes!

 

The little foxcubs that eventually follow play a singing game:


Little fox, oh guard your sack

From the badger at your back.

 

Little fox from Africa


Carries pepper, paprika.

Little fox, watch out! Beware

Of the hedgehog and the hare.

 

The Forester returns to his beloved forest, some years later:

 

Armies of mushrooms!



Tiny soldiers in uniform,

Wearing hats chestnut colored,

Trim as country girls.

 

Is it real or am I dreaming?



My fantastic forest! The same familiar trees

As when we first came exploring together,

She so impertinent, and I so in love!

 

We, too, went mushroom gathering,



Probing deep into the murky forest,

Often back with empty hands,

Too much in love to notice;

Coming back instead

With an overflow of treasured kisses. 

Wedding bells that day were ringing!

We were young, and wedding bells were ringing!

 

He sits down, his gun resting on his knees.

 

These pesky flies! Without them, I’d be dozing in no time. 



Yet I feel at home

Here at dusk when the forest starts coming alive.

A forest forever youthful,

Each round of the sun a new beginning.

 

Forest imps and fairies



Soon will return for a springtime

Of glorious revels and rapture.

 

Starting all over, back to undertake new miracles,



Once more they will scatter dew and sunlight

That turn into blossoms:

Honeysuckle, phlox and marigold.

Children and parents, other folk passing by,

Will stop to gaze in awe and wonder,

And may recognize



God’s own heaven, right here!

DONALD PIPPIN --- ENGLISH VERSIONS


AUBER HAYDN

Fra Diavolo The Apothecary

The Budding Soprano


BACH

The Coffee Cantata* JANACEK

The Cunning Little Vixen

BELLINI

Norma LECOCQ

The Daughter of Madame Angot

BIZET

Carmen LEHAR

Doctor Miracle* The Merry Widow

Don Procopio

MASCAGNI

CHABRIER Cavalleria Rusticana*

An Education Incomplete*

L’Etoile MASSENET

Manon

CIMAROSA Romeo and Juliet

The Secret Marriage

MOZART

DONIZETTI Bastien and Bastienne*

Anne Boleyn Cosi fan Tutte

Betly* Don Giovanni

The Daughter of the Regiment The Magic Flute

Don Pasquale The Marriage of Figaro

The Elixir of Love Yanked from the Harem

La Favorita

Lucia di Lammermoor MUSSORGSKY

Lucrezia Borgia Marriage Russian Style*

Maria Padilla

Mary Stuart NICOLAI

Robert Devereux The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Tutor in a Tangle

(L’Ajo nell’ Imbarazzo) OFFENBACH

The Bandits

von FLOTOW Le Belle Helene

Martha Bluebeard

The Bridge of Sighs

GOUNOD The Cat Turned into a Woman*

The Doctor in Spite of Himself The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein

Romeo and Juliet Marriage by Lantern*
OFFENBACH (cont.) VERDI

The New Woman (Genevieve) Ernani

Orpheus in the Underworld Falstaff

La Perichole King for a Day


The Princess of Trebizonde Luisa Miller

The Tales of Hoffmann Macbeth

La Vie Parisienne The Marauders

Oberto

PERGOLESE Rigoletto

The Maid Promoted Stiffelio

(La Serva Padrona) La Traviata
PUCCINI WAGNER

La Boheme No Love Allowed

Madame Butterfly (Das Liebesverbot)

Manon Lescaut

La Rondine von WEBER

Tosca Abu Hassan*

Der Freischuetz

ROSSINI

The Barber of Seville

La Cenerentola MONIUSZKO

Count Ory Halka

The Italian Girl in Algiers The Haunted Manor
SCHUBERT FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES

The Wedding Roast (Trio, Op. 104) Alice in Operaland

Cinderella

SMETANA The Escape

The Bartered Bride A Mini Magic flute

The Two Widows
STRAVINSKY

The Soldier’s Tale
von SUPPE

My Fair Galatea*
TCHAIKOVSKY

Eugene Onegin

The Queen of Spades
TELEMANN

Pimpinone* *one-act






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