|I Puritani Synopsis|
|I Puritani Libretto|
|Previous scene:||Cavalier se te duopo di consiglio|
|Next scene:||Sulla virginea testa|
THE MUSIC: "I puritani" was Bellini's last opera. It premiered in Paris in January 1835, and Bellini died in September 1835 at the age of 33. It was tremendously successful and the opera was performed regularly throughout Europe and in New York until the early 1900s. It went mostly dormant until it caught the public's attention during the bel canto revival ignited by Maria Callas and carried forward by Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, Edita Gruberova, and others. The aria "Son vergin vezzosa" is a joyous "polacca" (polonaise) in Act I where Elvira sings in elaborate fashion about her lovely wedding garb. This triggers a plot device whereby Elvira's wedding veil is used to disguise another woman so she can escape the castle with Arturo as her protector. Since Arturo is Elvira's fiancÃ©, she thinks he has betrayed her and goes mad. In the opera, the aria has several interjections by other characters, so it is often abridged when performed by a solo soprano in concert or recital.
THE SONGBIRD: Pierrette Alarie (1921 - 2011) was was born in Montreal to parents who were both professional musicians. She studied with Elisabeth Schumann in Philadelphia, and then she won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions (on the radio), leading to her debut at The Met in 1945. She sang 26 performances in three seasons (Oscar, Blonde, Olympia, Xenia). During this period she married tenor Leopold Simoneau (1916 - 2006), and they became a popular operatic couple that often performed together until their retirement. Alarie sang leading lyric-coloratura roles in European opera houses (Paris, Vienna, Munich) and festivals (Salzburg, Edinburgh, Aix, Glyndebourne), and at most of the major operatic and recital venues in North America.
Son vergin vezzosa in vesta di sposa;
son bianca ed umile qual giglio d'april,
ho chiome odorose cui cinser tue rose,
ho il seno gentile del tuo monil.
Qual mattutina stella
bella voglio brillar;
del crin le moli anella
mi giova ad aggraziar,
I'm a charming virgin in a wedding dress
I'm white and humble as an April lily,
I have perfumed hair which is bound
by your roses,
I have my gentle breast to wear your necklace.
Like a morning star
beautifully I wish to shine;
in my hair the heavy ring
is useful to make it graceful