|Giacomo Antonio Puccini|
|Manon Lescaut Synopsis|
|Manon Lescaut Libretto|
|Previous scene:||E nulla nulla!|
|Next scene:||Fra le tue braccia, amore!|
As a tribute to this living legend on her 100th birthday, I would like to post an excerpt of her singing in the 2 June 1972 Caracas performance of Manon Lescaut.
Other cast members included Richard Tucker as Des Grieux and Vincente Sardinero as Lescaut.
Conductor was Michelangelo Veltri.
This was the only performance in which my favorite soprano and tenor of that era ever sang together (and in my favorite opera too!). Olivero was 62 and Tucker was 58, but these two titans of opera deliver one of the most electrifying performances I've ever heard. They are in my opinion the greatest Manon Lescaut and Des Grieux of whom we have a complete recording. Very few recordings have ever brought me to tears, but the first time I heard Olivero and Tucker sing Act 4 of THIS performance, I certainly used up a few tissues.
Again, happy 100th birthday to my favorite (along with Ponselle) soprano of all time, hope she sticks around for another 100 years!
*Since Tucker, who was equally amazing in this performance, isn't featured in this excerpt, I'll post some more highlights from this performance when I have time.
Des Grieux adagia Manon sopra un rialzo di terreno, poi resta ancora irresoluto in preda a fiero contrasto. Indi s'allontana a poco a poco; giunto nel fondo rimane di nuovo dubbioso e fissa Manon con occhi disperati; quindi, con improvvisa risoluzione parte correndo. L'orizzonte si oscura. L'ambascia vince Manon; è stravolta, impaurita, accasciata.
Sola, perduta, abbandonata …
in landa desolata!
Orror! Intorno a me s'oscura il ciel …
Ahimè, son sola!
E nel profondo deserto io cado,
strazio crudel, ah! sola abbandonata,
io, la deserta donna!
Ah! non voglio morir!
No! non voglio morir!
Tutto dunque è finito.
Terra di pace mi sembrava questa …
Ahi! mia beltà funesta,
ire novelle accende …
Strappar da lui mi si volea; or tutto
il mio passato orribile risorge,
e vivo innanzi al guardo mio si posa.
Ah! di sangue s'è macchiato.
Ah! tutto è finito.
Asil di pace ora la tomba invoco …
No! non voglio morir … amore, aita!
Des Grieux places Manon on top of the ground, then he is still irresolute in a fierce contrast. Then he moves away little by little; in the background he remains doubtful again and stares at Manon with desperate eyes; then, with sudden resolution, he starts running. The horizon darkens. The ambassador wins Manon; it is twisted, frightened, slumped.
Lonely, lost, abandoned ...
in desolate land!
Horror! The sky is dark around me ...
Alas, I am alone!
And in the deep desert I fall,
cruel torture, ah! alone abandoned,
me, the deserted woman!
Ah! I do not want to die!
No! I do not want to die!
So everything is finished.
Land of peace seemed to me this ...
Ouch! my fateful beauty,
ire novelle turns on ...
He turned from me; or everything
my horrible past rises again,
and I live in front of my gaze and settles.
Ah! of blood he has stained himself.
Ah! everything is finished.
Asil of peace now the grave invokes ...
No! I do not want to die ... love, aita!