Tuesday, April 14, 2015


In the course of my music career, I had the opportunity to play in Opera Tampa for twelve seasons, under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola, who finally retired a few years ago, at age 98. We should all be so lucky. We played Italian Opera only, and I really enjoyed it; it was also an education in playing rubato and and education in patience. Opera tells a story through lyrics, action, stage-setting and music, no better exemplified than by Giacomo Puccini's “Turandot” and the magnificent “Nessun dorma”.

Giacomo Puccini, Italian Composer, December 22, 1858 - November 24, 1924

I almost feel like Anna Russell in describing this opera, because it's a typical opera; love story, the Prince loves the Princess, but she doesn't love him. There's another mousy girl waiting in the wings; she kills herself because the Prince doesn't love her, and you think the Prince is remorseful and will off himself, so, you think, “Well, another unhappy opera.” but you're be wrong. Puccini died before he could finish this and unlike “Madama Butterfly” which is the most depressing opera I've ever played, this one ends happily for once. One of his students fiddled with it and gave it a happy ending for once, thank the Christ.

That, however doesn't make the lyrics any better. Here they are in English:

Nobody shall sleep!...Nobody shall sleep!Even you, o Princess,in your cold room,watch the stars,that tremble with love and with hope.But my secret is hidden within me,my name no one shall know...No!...No!...On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!...(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)Vanish, o night!Set, stars! Set, stars!At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!
Pretty God-awful in my book. If someone sang that to me, I'd have them rushed to the E. R. to find out if they were brain-damaged, but that's Italian Opera and no one really gives a shit what comes out of your mouth, as long as it come out beautifully, and it does!

Rather than plague you with the Italian version, I think I'll just let Luciano Pavarotti sing it for us; he does a bang-up job! Tomorrow, we'll visit the Glenn Miller Orchestra!
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