NYC Translations

Der Hӧlle Rache from Die Zauberflӧte 

Hell’s Revenge cooks in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
If Sarastro does not through you feel
The pain of death,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned may you be forever,
Abandoned may you be forever,
Destroyed be forever
All the bonds of nature,
If not through you
Sarastro becomes pale! (as death)
Hear, Gods of Revenge,
Hear a mother’s oath!

literal translation by Lea F. Frey


Una voce poco fa from Il barbiere di Siviglia     

A voice has just
echoed here into my heart
my heart is already wounded
and it was Lindoro who sent the shot.
Yes, Lindoro will be mine
I’ve sworn it, I will win him.
The tutor will refuse,
I’ll sharpen my mind
finally he’ll accept,
and happy I’ll rest.
Yes, Lindoro will be mine
I’ve sworn it, I will win him.
I’m gentle, respectful
I’m obedient, sweet, loving
I allow myself to be ruled, I allow myself to be guided
But if they touch me where my weakness lies
I’ll be a viper and create a hundred traps,
before giving up I’ll make them fall.

Mi tradi quell’alma ingrate from Don Giovanni

In what excesses, O Heavens,
In what horrible, terrible crimes
The wretch has involved himself!
Ah no! The wrath of Heaven cannot delay,
Justice cannot delay.
I already sense the fatal bolt
Which is falling on his head!
I see the mortal abyss open!…
Unhappy Elvira! what a conflict of feelings
Is born in your breast!
Why these sighs?
And these pains?

That ungrateful soul betrayed me,
O God, how unhappy he made me!
But, though betrayed and abandoned,
I still know pity for him.
When I feel my suffering,
My heart speaks of vengeance;
But when I see the danger he’s in,
My heart beats for him.

Translation by Jane Bishop


Una donna a quindici anni from Cosi fan tutte

A woman of 15 years
Must know all the good methods,
Where the devil keeps his tail,
What’s good and what’s bad.
She must know the little malices
That enamor lovers:
To feign laughter, to feign tears,
And invent good reasons.

She must pay attention to a hundred at a time
Speak through her eyes with a thousand
Give hope to all, be they handsome or ugly,
Know how to obfuscate without getting confused
And know how to lie without blushing.
And this queen from her high throne
Can make them obey with, “I can,” and “I want.”
(It seems they like this doctrine,
Long live Despina, who knows how to serve!)

Translation by Naomi Gurt Lind


Je veux vivre from Roméo et Juliette  

I want to live
In this dream which intoxicates me
This day still,
Sweet flame,
I keep you in my soul
Like a treasure!
I want to live, etc.
This intoxication of youth
Lasts, alas, only for one day!
Then comes the hour
When one weeps.
Far from the morose winter
Let me, let me slumber
And inhale the rose,
Before plucking its petals.
Ah! – Ah! – Ah!
Sweet flame!
Stay in my soul
Like a sweet treasure
For a long time still.
Ah! – Like a treasure
For a long time still.

Translated by Lea Frey


Seguidilla from Carmen

Near the ramparts of Seville
At the place of my friend, Lillas Pastia
I will go to dance the Seguedilla
And to drink Manzanilla.
I will go to the place of my friend, Lillas Pastia.
Yes, but all alone, one gets bored,
And the real pleasures are for two;
So, to keep me company,
I will take away my lover.
My lover, he has gone to the devil,
I put him out yesterday!
My poor heart, very consolable,
My heart is free, like the air!
I have suitors by the dozen,
But, they are not to my taste.
Here it is the weekend;
Who wants to love me? I will love him!
Who wants my soul? It¹s for the taking.
You’re arriving at the right time!
I have hardly the time to wait,
For I shall go with my new lover,
Near the ramparts of Seville
At the place of my friend, Lillas Pastia!

Literal translation by Lea F. Frey


Quel guardo il cavaliere from Don Pasquale

“That glance
it pierced the knight’s heart,
he bent on his knees and said:
I am your knight
And in that glance there was
such taste of heaven
that knight Riccardo,
being conquered by love,
swore he would not think
of any other woman”.
Ha, Ha!

I also know the magic virtue
of a glance at the right time in the right place,
I also know how hearts burn
on the slow fire
of a short smile.
I also know the effect
of a deceitful tear,
of an instant languor
I know the thousand means
love-frauds use,
the charms and the easy arts
used to seduce a heart.

I have an odd mind,
I have a ready wit,
I like being witty, joking :
If I get angry
I rarely can remain calm
But I can soon change indignation into laugh,
I have an odd mind,
but an excellent heart, ah!

Translation by Giuseppe Cusmano


O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn from Die Zauberflӧte

O tremble not, my dear son.
You are innocent, wise, and pious;
A youth such as you
Must do his best
This deeply troubled
Mother¹s heart to comfort.

To suffer I have been selected,
For my daughter is gone from me;
Through her has all my fortune been lost,
A scoundrel has fled with her.
Still I see her trembling
With fearful shaking,
Her frightened quaking,
Her timid effort.
I had to see her stolen from me,
Ah, help! Ah, Help!
Was all she said.
Alone, in vain was her entreaty,
For my help was too weak.

You, you, you, will go to set her free,
You will the daughter¹s savior be.
And should I see you as victor,
May she be then forever yours.

literal translation by Lea F. Frey


Sempre libera from La Traviata


How strange! How strange!
I have these words engraved in my heart!
Would a serious love be a misfortune for me?
What’s your decision, oh troubled soul of mine?
No man has set you on fire before
Oh what joy
I didn’t know
being loved, loving!
And could I reject it
out of the barren insanity of my living?

Ah, maybe he’s the one who
often rejoiced painting my soul
alone amid excitements
with his occult colours
How modest and vigilant he
climbed the sad doorsteps
and lit up a new fever
arousing my love!
Such a love that makes
the whole universe palpitate
mysterious and lofty
crucifixion and delight for my heart

Madness! This is a futile delirium!
Poor woman, alone, abandoned
in this crowded desert
that’s called Paris
what do I hope for now on?
What must I do?
Have fun!
Perish in the vortices of pleasure!
Have fun!

I must stay always free
cavorting from joy to joy
I want my living to run
trough paths of pleasure
day in and day out
always happy in hangouts
among always new delights
my thoughts should fly

Translation by Flavio Ferri Benedetti