OPERA ARENA SPECIAL EVENTS
Berta offers an analysis of this aria that Anthony has sung, giving a little background, the plot and the translation. Hope you'll enjoy it!
UNA FURTIVA LAGRIMA
from "L'Elisir d'Amore"
I have chosen to begin this feature of Opera Arena with the famous aria from "L'Elisir d'Amore"............Una Furtiva Lagrima, because it is perhaps the most beautiful aria I've heard Anthony sing, it's one of the most famous of all tenor arias. Also, the role of Nemorino is one that Anthony has said he'd like to sing onstage. I think it's perfect for him, vocally and physically.
The title of the opera by Donizetti means "The Elixir of Love", and the story is fairly straightforward, considering how convoluted most opera plots are. Nemorino (our tenor), a farmboy, is in love with Adina (soprano), a wealthy landowner. She can't see him for dust. Into town come some soldiers, led by Sgt. Belcore (baritone). He immediately hits on Adina, who seems to respond. Nemorino is devastated. What to do? Suddenly, in rides Dr. Dulcamara (bass), selling, among other things-an elixir, which promises to make whoever drinks it, irresistable to the opposite sex.
Nemorino rushes up to the doctor and buys a bottle. He asks how long it will take to work, and he is told that tomorrow he will be irresistable. He says "why not tonight?" It seems that Adina and Sgt Belcore have a rendezvous for that night. No, tomorrow is when he'll be sought by all the girls. So Nemorino drinks the whole bottle, hoping to speed things up. When it doesn't work, he asks the doctor what to do. Of course Dr. Dulcamara says to buy another bottle. Nemorino has no more money, but if he enlists in the army, he'll receive $20.00. So he enlists, gets the money, buys another bottle, and drinks it. Now thoroughly drunk, he rebuffs Adina when she asks why he's so sad. The townspeople then find out that Nemorino's uncle has died and left him a fortune. All the girls in town are falling all over themselves to be with him. He doesn't know about his uncle and thinks the elixir is finally working, so he tries to play hard-to-get with Adina. When she learns that he's enlisted to get money to win her love, she realizes she does indeed love him. But now it seems that he doesn't love her anymore! As she goes to keep her rendezvous with Sgt. Belcore, Nemorino muses that he could swear he saw a tear in her eye, when he was cold to her. He stands alone, and sings this wonderful aria- "Una Furtiva Lagrima", One furtive tear.
Una furtiva lagrima
Negli occhi suoi spunto
Quelle festose giovani
Che piu cercando io vo
M'ama, si m'ama, lo vedo
Un solo istante i palpiti
Del suo bel cor sentir
I miei sospir confondere
Per poco a' suoi sospir
I palpiti, i palpiti sentir
Confondere, i miei co' suoi sospir
Cielo, si puo morir;
Di piu non chiedo
One furtive tear
I think I saw it there in her eyes
She seemed to envy those young
people celebratng over there.
What else am I looking for?
She loves me, yes, she loves me, I see it.
If only for one instant I could feel the
beating of her beautiful heart,
My sighs would be mingled a little
To feel the palpitation,
To mix my sighs with hers!
Heaven, if I could die
I would not ask for more.
After this aria, which usually stops the show, there are several beautiful arias and duets where the soprano and tenor take turns playing hard-to-get. But all's well that ends well. Adina buys back Nemorino's army contract; Dr. Dulcamara sells lots of bottles of his elixir, decides that maybe it does work, and goes to make more; Sgt. Belcore goes off with several young ladies; Nemorino and Adina declare their love for one another, and hopefully everyone lives happily ever after.
The opera opened to apparently good reviews, on May 12, 1832. Part of one review said, ".....everything is beautiful, very beautiful, and was well applauded." Later that summer, when the music was being prepared for publication, the famous Italian music publisher, Ricordi, wrote to Donizetti, to ask him if it was dedicated to anyone. Donizetti replied,
"..........The Elixir of Love...let it be 'To the fair sex of Milan.' Who knows better how to
© All information copyrighted ......... Berta Calechman