|I Puritani Synopsis|
|I Puritani Libretto|
|Previous scene:||Cavalier se te duopo di consiglio|
|Next scene:||Sulla virginea testa|
THE SONGBIRD: Stefania Bonfadelli was born in Verona in 1967. After music studies in Italy with coloratura soprano Lina Aimaro, and further vocal studies in Paris and Vienna, she leapt to the top of the operatic pyramid with a debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1997 as Elvira in "I puritani." Other roles at Vienna were Rosina, Lucia, Despina, Amina, Violetta, Gilda, Olympia, Jemmy, and Juliette. Notable appearances include Violetta at Covent Garden; Amina at La Scala; Lucia in Berlin; Gilda in Hamburg and Frankfurt; Manon in Detroit; Corrina in Israel; and Despina in Tokyo. She has recently shifted into teaching and directing opera productions. This selection is from her Vienna performance on March 4, 2004 which I recorded from a broadcast.
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.
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