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Meco all'altar di venere

Opera details:

Opera title:



Vincenzo Bellini




Norma Synopsis


Norma Libretto


English Deutsch

Aria details:









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Giovanni Martinelli - Meco all' altar di Venere (Live)

Singer: Giovanni Martinelli

This week’s edition of Dead Tenors’ Society examines some of the rarest recordings of Giovanni Martinelli (1885-1969). This beloved tenor was born in Montagnana in the province of Padova, Martinelli’s first musical experiences were as a clarinet player in a military band. His voice was discovered during his military service, however, and he began studies with Giuseppe Mandolini in Milan. His operatic debut came about a month before his 23rd birthday when he sang the Messenger in Verdi’s Aïda at his hometown theater, the Teatro Sociale. Realizing that further study was required, Martinelli withdrew to the voice studio where he worked intensely for the next two years. He re-emerged for a second, official debut on December 29, 1910 as Verdi’s Ernani at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan. His success was phenomenal and the young tenor quickly went on to make debuts in the important theaters of Naples, Rome, London and Paris.

On November 18, 1913, Martinelli made his Met debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca. He remained a stalwart member of the company for the next 32 consecutive seasons, singing well over 900 performances of 36 diverse roles including Radames in Aïda, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, Don Alvaro in La Forza del Destino, Manrico in Il Trovatore, Gabriele in Simon Boccanegra, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Vasco da Gama in L’Africaine, Enzo in La Gioconda, Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West, des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Calaf in Turandot, Canio in Pagliacci, the title role in Andrea Chénier, Loris in Fedora, Pollione in Norma, the title role in Samson et Dalila, Arnold in Guillaume Tell, Jean of Leyden in Le Prophète, Raoul in Les Huguenots, the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Gérald in Lakmé, Don José in Carmen, Eléazar in La Juive and, probably his greatest triumph, the title role in Verdi’s Otello. During his tenure at the Met, Martinelli sang the world premieres of Giordano’s Madame Sans-Gêne (Lefêbvre), Granados’ Goyescas (Fernando), as well as the Met premieres of Weber’s Oberon (Huon), Wolf-Ferrari’s I Gioielli della Madonna (Gennaro) and Verdi’s Don Carlo (in the title role). In addition, Martinelli sang Paolo in the U.S. premiere of Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini and Lensky in the U.S. stage premiere of Yevgeny Onegin (in Italian!).

Martinelli’s final performance at the Met in a complete role was as Pollione in Bellini’s Norma on March 8, 1945 (the tenor participated in a gala on the Met stage the following year). The 59-year-old singer continued to perform throughout the U.S. and appeared extensively on radio and, later, television. Following a final Samson et Dalila in Philadelphia in 1950, Martinelli, now in his 65th year, retired from the stage.

Although he was no longer actively performing, the veteran tenor was still very much in evidence on the New York music scene. He regularly attended performances at his old stamping grounds, the Met, and was a frequent panel guest on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz broadcasts. Martinelli remained busy well into his eighties, coaching young singers, giving lectures and masterclasses, making new recordings and even appearing as the Emperor in a Seattle production of Turandot at age 81! The ever-youthful artist enjoyed robust health until the very final days of his life. It was a rupture of an aortic aneurism that brought the 83-year-old Martinelli’s life to a sudden and unexpected end on February 2, 1969.

Giovanni Martinelli’s voice is a hard one to classify. He’s been referred to as a dramatic tenor, a spinto, a lirico-spinto, a spinto-dramatic…nobody seems to be able to make up his mind as to exactly what type of voice the man possessed. In all honesty, I think that Martinelli was a combination of ALL these different tenorial sub-categories at different periods of his career. Also, I believe that Martinelli adapted the weight of his voice to suit the role he was singing at the time. After all, the voice of Edgardo is NOT the voice of Samson. Regardless of which type of tenor Martinelli was, he was certainly unique…there is absolutely no mistaking him for any other tenor. After hearing one or two notes, you KNOW that you are listening to the voice of Giovanni Martinelli.

Martinelli had an extraordinarily long recording career…56 years. His commercial discs were made for Edison, HMV and Victor between 1912 and 1939 and broadcast transcriptions of performances and private recordings continued throughout the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Here, Martinelli sings "Meco all'altar di Venere; Me protegge, me difende" from Bellini's Norma. This recording was made during a concert performance in the late 1930s.

Watch videos with other singers performing Meco all'altar di venere:

Franco Corelli Meco all altar di Venere Breathtaking 24592
5 - Franco Corelli
SALVATORE FISICHELLA Meco all altar di Venere  24635
5 - Salvatore Fisichella

Mario Del Monaco in Munich Concert Meco all altar di  94409
5 - Mario Del Monaco
Mario Filippeschi Sings Meco all altar di Venere From Bellini s Norma 24594
5 - Mario Filippeschi

Placido Domingo in Norma Meco all altar di Veneremp4 24611
5 - Plácido Domingo
Russell Thomas sings Pollione in Norma by Bellini 24615
5 - Russell Thomas

Gregory Kunde Bellini Norma Warszawa 2010 94415
5 - Gregory Kunde

Svanir le vociMeco all altar di Venere NormaBellini Teodor Ilincai 24622
5 - Teodor Ilincăi

Meco all altar di Venere Fabio Armiliato NormaBellini 24597
5 - Fabio Armiliato
Tenore GIANNI RAIMONDI Norma Meco all altar di Venere Scena aria e cabaletta Live 1972 24612
5 - Gianni Raimondi

Charles Craig Tenor at 61 sings Meco all altar di Venere Norma Live Covent Garden 1980 94419
5 - Charles Craig
Carlo Cossutta Svanir le vociMeco all altar di VenereMe protegge me difende Norma 94422
5 - Carlo Cossutta

Jose Cura sings Bellini 94425
5 - José Cura
Riccardo Massi Meco all altar di Venere VBellini Norma 24601
5 - Riccardo Massi

Roberto Aronica Bellini Norma Zurich 2011 94426
5 - Robert Wilson
Bellini Norma Zoran Todorovich sings Polione 94427
5 - Zoran Todorovich

V Bellini Meco all altar di Venere tenore Stefan Pop 94428
5 - Ștefan Pop
Brandon Jovanovich Bellini Norma Trieste 2009 99 94430
5 - Brandon Jovanovich

5 - Carlo Bergonzi
Giuseppe Giacomini Meco all altar di Venere Norma 1992 24613
5 - Giuseppe Giacomini

JOHN ALEXANDER Meco all altar di Venere Me protegge 1972 LIVE Hartford CT 94448
5 - John Alexander

Giovanni Martinelli Meco all altar di Venere Live 94449
5 - Giovanni Martinelli

Lando Bartolini Svanir le vociMeco all altarMe protegge me difende Norma V Bellini 94455
5 - Lando Bartolini
John Osborn sings Meco all altar di Venere from Norma Live at Schloss Braunfels 94460
5 - John Osborn

Francesco Merli Meco all altar di Venere 94461
5 - Francesco Merli
Robleto Merolla Meco all altar di VenereMe protegge me difende 1971 Madrid 94465
6 - James Morris

Gino Penno Meco all altar di Venere 24628
5 - Gino Penno
Arnold Rutkowski Pollione Norma V Bellini 94472
5 - Arnold Rutkowski

Carlo Albani Meco all altar di Venere 94481
6 - Enrico Delle Sedie
Bruno Prevedi Meco all altar di Venere Norma Vincenzo Bellini 94483
5 - Bruno Prevedi

Meco all altar di Venere Norma Maria Callas 24614
1 - Maria Callas
Bellini Norma Act 1 Meco all altar di Venere  24599
5 - Luciano Pavarotti

Norma Norma Act I Meco all altar di Venere 94495
5 - Giacomo Lauri-Volpi
Norma ACT 1 Scene 1 Meco all altar di Venere Pollione 94497
5 - Mirto Picchi

Norma Act I Meco all altar di Venere Pollione 24605
5 - Jon Vickers

Norma Norma Act I Meco all altar di venere Me protegge me difende 94505
5 - Pier Miranda Ferraro

Norma Act I Scene 1 Svanir le voci Meco all altar di Venere Me protegge me difende 94508
5 - Vincenzo La Scola
Norma Act I Scene 1 Meco all altar di Venere Pollione Flavio Chorus 94541
5 - Kurt Baum

1 - Daniela Dessì
5 - Fabio Armiliato
John Alexander Meco all altar di VenereMe protegge me difende Boston 1971 94486
5 - John Alexander
6 - Donald Gramm

Norma Act I Meco all altar di Venere 94494
5 - Franco Corelli
5 - Piero de Palma
Norma Act I Svanir le voci Meco all altar di Venere Me protegge me difende  94504
5 - Charles Anthony
5 - Plácido Domingo


In rammentarlo io tremo.

Meco all'altar di Venere
Era Adalgisa in Roma,
Cinta di bende candide,
Sparsa di fior la chioma;
Udia d'Imene i cantici,
Vedea fumar gl'incensi,
Eran rapiti i sensi
Di voluttade e amore.
Quando fra noi terribile
Viene a locarsi un'ombra
L'ampio mantel druidico
Come un vapor l'ingombra;
Cade sull'ara il folgore,
D'un vel si copre il giorno,
Muto si spande intorno
Un sepolcrale orror.
Più l'adorata vergine
Io non mi trovo accanto;
N'odo da lunge un gemito
Misto de' figli al pianto …
Ed una voce orribile
Echeggia in fondo al tempio
Norma così fa scempio
D'amante traditor!

English Libretto or Translation:

Even recalling it, I tremble!

Adalgisa was with me, in Rome,
At the altar of Venus,
Dressed in pure white
With flowers in her hair.
As she heard the hymns of Hymen
And breathed the holy incense,
Her senses were enraptured
With the joy of love...
Suddenly between us there descended
A horrible shadow,
And the great Druidic mantle
Enfolded her like smoke.
Lightning flashed on the altar,
And the day was veiled in darkness.
Silently, all around,
Rose a tomb?like horror.
The beloved maiden
as no longer at my side.
From afar I heard a sob,
Mingled with the weeping of my children.
Then a monstrous voice
Echoed through the temple, saying:
This is the vengeance of Norma
Upon her faithless lover!