8 October 2006

Nessun dorma

Nessun Dorma (Let No One Sleep), is my favorite opera aria. It was so heartbreakingly beautiful that everytime when I listen to it, I sink deep into it.

This aria from Giacomo Puccini's (1858 - 1924) opera Turandot (1920-1924), was written in 1924 and premiered on 25 April 1926 in Milan with the Spanish tenor Miguel Fleta as the Prince, Calaf. However, it was Luciano Pavarotti (b.1935) who made Nessun Dorma famous!

Here is the version Pavarotti in live in Paris 1998 (12 July, one day after the French championed the World Cup and one day before their National Day). It was a pity that at (1'58" - 2'12") in the video, there should be two lines of chorus which was missing during the performance. It was definitely a producer's faut not to arrange choirs!
Click 2 times on the Play icon, please.

Courtesy: boellebent (Demark)

Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma! (No one sleeps! No one sleeps!)
Tu pure, o Principessa, (Even you, oh princess,)
nella tua fredda stanza guardi le stelle (in your cold room look at the stars)
che tremano d'amore e di speranza... (that tremble with love and hope!)

Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me, (But my mystery it is locked in me)
il nome mio nessun saprà! (And my name,no one will know!)
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò, (No, no! On your mouth)
quando la luce splenderà! (I will say it, when the light will shine!)

Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio, (And my kiss will break the silence)
che ti fa mia. (that makes you mine!)

Voci di donne (Chorus):
Il nome suo nessun saprà... (His name no one will know...)
E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir, morir! (And we shall have, alas, to die, to die...!)

Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! (Disperse, o night! Vanish, oh stars!)
Tramontate, stelle! (Vanish, oh stars!)
All'alba vincerò! (At daybreak, I will win!)
Vincerò! Vincerò! (I will win! I will win!)

Here is another version performed by the famous Three Tenors, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras Coll and Pavarotti in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the 1994 World Cup finals with choirs.

From the lyric, we know that it's not a sad piece of music, but the "heartbreaking" mood is in the melody. This is the opening song of Act III, when the Prince is singing alone on the stage, waiting for the sun to rise and for Turandot to love him. In the background, the Chorus' sombre repetition of Turandot's order that "No one in Pekin is allowed to sleep tonight, until his name is found out" is like a phantom besetting the Prince's hope, like the ghost of Lo-u-Ling waiting for her revenge. Though the prince is hopeful and confident in his words, the chorus lines remind him of the cruelty of Turandot, and his heart sinks (that's why I was upset with the Parvarotti 1998 version). The G major becomes the key signifying "dark hours before sunrise", inspiring the Prince's fear of a failing love and Turandot's terrified avoidance of a marriage with the unknown Prince. Love becomes a war, and everyone is agitated and sleepless tonight.