A Night at the Opera

Ok Ok…..so what is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say the word “Opera”?  It’s probably a comical scene with crazy looking people singing things you can’t understand in a very high screechy voice…..was I right? 🙂

Many of you know that I’m studying music at Skagit Valley College, specifically piano and voice. This past fall my voice teacher asked me what I thought of participating in an opera workshop where we would perform at the end of the quarter. Let’s just say….my perception of opera was pretty similar to what I described above, but I thought “Hey! Why not. It would expand me vocally and would give me an opportunity to try something new.” So I said yes! I wasn’t really sure what lay ahead but I knew it would be a fun experience that I would probably never get again. My teacher gave some music to work on and I began working away. Probably the most difficult thing was learning the German words! I had the privilege of singing in a Quintet with some wonderful singers who also happen to be my classmates. I was also able to sing a lovely Italian aria. Not too long after I began to work on the pieces I had the opportunity to see a “real” opera for the first time and I was not only enthralled by the amazing talent, I was inspired. Inspired to take on the challenge wholeheartedly and do my very best to make it beautiful.

I thought it would be fun to put the videos of the performances and the translations below. I hope you enjoy it!

The first piece I sang was an Italian Aria called “Ch’io mai vi possa” from Handel’s opera

Ch’io mai vi possa from “Siroe” by Handel

Emira: That I could ever cease to love you!
Do not believe, O dearest eyes,
Not even in jest will I deceive you.
You were and are my love’s flame
And you will be, dearest eyes,
My true love so long as I live.

The second song was a quintet from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. The translation may enlighten you to what’s actually going on in this scene.

 

 

“Quintet” from the Magic Flute by Mozart
Papageno
Hm! Hm! Hm! Hm!
Tamino
Poor Papageno has been punished, they have forbidden him to speak.
Papageno
Hm! Hm! Hm! Hm!
Tamino
Alas I’m powerless to help you. The spell is strong and I am weak. I cannot tell how I can help you. The spell is strong and I am weak. I don’t know how to help you speak. The spell is strong and I am weak.
First Lady
The Queen of Night has ordered me to break the lock and set you free.Papageno
Now Papageno’s free to chatter!
Second Lady
But falsehood is another matter.
Papageno
I’ve done with lying, I repent.
Three Ladies
You won’t forget this punishment.
Papageno
I won’t forget my punishment.
All
A world of love could be created if only lying tongues would cease. Deceit and greed would be frustrated.
Three Ladies and Tamino
And we would lead our lives in peace.
First Lady
Oh, Prince, receive this gift I bear, the Queen consigns it to your care. Whatever dangers date may send you, this magic flute, it will defend you.
Three Ladies
For when it plays it sings so sweetly that evil ways are changed completely. The world at war will fight no more and frozen hearts will start to thaw.
All
Who can guess its power and who can estimate its worth? It will fill the world with love and build heaven here on earth.
Papageno
Though it’s sad to leave such beauties, ladies, I must leave you now…
Three Ladies
No true man can shirk his duties and there’s work for you to do. To Sarastro we must send you, Papageno will attend you.
Papageno
Thank you very much indeed, that’s the last thing I need. I have heard this pagan priest is as fierce as any beast. He is a savage, he’s a sinner, and he’ll have me for dinner, guest of honor at the feast.
Three Ladies
Your place is at the Prince’s side, he’ll be your guardian and your guide.
Papageno
I bet he’s planning to deceive me, what danger lie ahead? He’ll try to rob me by the wayside, and then leave me for dead.
First Lady
These magic bells we give to you.
Papageno
To me? Let’s have a look at them.
Three Ladies
They will protect you on your mission.
Papageno
Can they be played without tuition?
Three Ladies
Of course then can, you foolish man!
All
Magic music, mystic powers will be yours/ours when danger lowers. Fare you well, we’ll meet again, so farewell, farewell till then.
Tamino
Stay mystic ladies, fair and wise.
Papageno
And say which way the fortress lies.
Tamino and Papageno
Yes, tell us pray which way Sarastro’s fortress lies.
Three Ladies
Three children will soon be here to guide you, through doubt and fear they’ll stay beside you. To keep you safe and lead the way, when they command you must obey.
Tamino and Papageno
Three children will soon be here to guide us, through doubt and fear they’ll stay beside us…
Three Ladies
To keep you safe and lead the way, when they command you must obey.
All
And so farewell, farewell till then, and so farewell, we’ll meet again.

4 Comments on “A Night at the Opera”

  1. In answer to your question above: Amazing! The absolutely incredible sounds that the human voice is capable of is amazing. Which opera did you see?

    1. I saw Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti. Typical opera….dramatic…everyone dies. Haha! But amazing music, I must say.

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