This divine cantabile is for goddess Artemis Leontis, the bel canto of my life, who makes every day Valentine’s day for us.
In Act I, Scene 3 of Bellini’s opera seria I Puritani (1835) in a fortress near Plymouth, England, during the English Civil War (1649), Lord Arturo Talbo, a Cavalier and sympathizer of the Stuarts, enters the Hall of Arms with squires bearing presents, including a beautiful white veil, for Elvira Walton, daughter of the Puritan governor-general and his bride to be, and sings to her “A te, o cara,” a cavatina about the impossible love he always felt for her.
(Tenor Juan Diego Florez, soprano Nino Machaidze, orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna under conductor Michele Mariotti and stage director Pier’alli.)
Art. A te, o cara, amor talora.
Mi guido furtivo e in pianto;
Or mi guida a te d’ accanto
Tra la gioia e l’ esultar.
Al brillar di si bell’ ora,
Se rammento il mio tormento,
Si raddopia il mio contento,
M’ e piu caro il palpitar !
Sir Giorgio. I Senza occaso quest’ aurora !
Wal. Mai null’ ombra, o duol vi dia ! – O contento!
Santa in voi la fiamma sia !
Pace ognor v’ allieti il cor ! – Ah, mio bene!
Elv. Ah, mio Arturo !
Art. Ah, Elvira mia !
Elv. Or son tua !
Art. Si, mia tu sei !
Tutti. Cielo arridi a’ voti miei,
Benedici a tanto amor!
Art. To you, oh dear one, love at times
led me furtively and in tears;
now it guides me to your side
in joy and exaltation.
At the radiance of such a beautiful hour,
if I renew my torment,
it redoubles my happiness,
’tis more dear the (heart’s) beating.
Sir G.: May this dawn be never overcast !
Wal. May gloom or grief never veil me!
Holy be the flame you feel !
Peace and gladness in your hearts !
Elv. Oh, my dear Arthur !
Art. My own Elvira !
Elv. Now am I thine !
Art. Yes, thou art mine !
All. Heaven smiles upon our vows,
Blesses constancy and love !
February 14, 2015