Saturday, July 25, 2009

La Traviata by Giusseppe Verdi: The "Drinking Song" (Brindisi Translation)

"Libiamo ne' lieti calici", the famous "Brindisi" or "Drinking Song" from La Traviata de Giussepe Verdi. Arugably one of the most famous operas ever written, story of a fallen Violetta is based on "The Lady of the Camellias" by Alexandre Dumas, son.

The premiere, on 6th March 1853 in Venice's La Fenice, was the utter failure! Afterwards Giusseppe Verdi wrote to his friend Muzio what has now become perhaps his most famous letter: "La Traviata last night a failure. My fault or the singers'? 250 years later we still enjoy the beauty of Verdis' music.

I love this cheerful version, performed in Baden-Baden, with Anna Netrebko (soprano - Russia), Elina Garanca (mezzo-soprano - Latvia), Ramón Vargas (tenor - Mexico), Ludovic Tézier (baritone - France)

More on this Famous Aria:

Role: Alfredo Germont, a young man in love with Violetta
Voice Part: tenor
Fach: lyric tenor
Setting: A late-night party at the house of Violetta Valery Range : Has not been entered yet. Synopsis : Alfredo is convinced by Gastone and Violetta to show off his voice. He sings (as this title suggests) a drinking song. English translation is below.

English Translation:

Let us drink from the goblets of joy
adorned with beauty,
and the fleeting hour shall be adorned
with pleasure.

Let us drink to the secret raptures
which love excites,
for this eye reigns supreme in my heart...

Let us drink, for with wine
love will enjoy yet more passionate kisses.
With you I can spend
the time with delight.

In life everything is folly
which does not bring pleasure.
Let us be happy, fleeting and rapid
is the delight of love;
it is a flower which blooms and dies,
which can no longer be enjoyed.

Let us be happy, fervent and enticing words summon us.
(Be happy... wine and song and laughter
beautify the night;
let the new day find us in this paradise.)
Life is nothing but pleasure,
as long as one is not in love.
Don’t say that to one who does not know it.
That is my fate...

NOTE: Do not miss Maria Callas's version of Brindisi here.