Robert Merrill (June 4, 1917 -- October 23, 2004) was an American operatic baritone, who was also active in the musical theatre circuit. He received the National Medal of Arts in 1993. Merrill's 1944 operatic debut was in Verdi's Aida at Newark, New Jersey, with the famous tenor Giovanni Martinelli, then in the later stages of his long operatic career. Merrill, who had continued his vocal studies under Samuel Margolis made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air in 1945, as Germont in La traviata. Also in 1945, Robert Merrill recorded a 78rpm record set with Jeanette MacDonald featuring selections from the operetta Up In Central Park; MacDonald and Merrill did two duets together on this album. In 1951, Merrill did a series of duet recordings together with the Swedish tenor Jussi Björling, including the world-renowned recording of "Au fond du temple saint" from the opera Les pêcheurs de perles by Georges Bizet. Again in 1952 Merrill and Björling, as well as Victoria de los Ángeles made a widely admired recording of Puccini's La bohème, conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. In 1953, Merrill, Björling, de los Angeles and Zinka Milanov recorded the complete Pagliacci and Cavalleria rusticana...
Lyrics & English Translation
Handyman of the city. Early in the workshop I arrive at dawn. Ah, what a life, what a pleasure For a barber of quality! Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, very good! I am the luckiest, it's the truth! Ready for anything, night and day I'm always on the move. Cushier fate for a barber, A more noble life cannot be found. Razors and combs Lancets and scissors, at my command everything is here. Here are the extra tools then, for business With the ladies... with the gentlemen... Everyone asks me, everyone wants me, women, children, old people, young ones: Here are the wigs... A quick shave of the beard... Here are the leeches for bleeding... The note... Here are the wigs, a quick shave soon, The note, hey! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!, Etc.. Alas, what frenzy! Alas, what a crowd! One at a time, for goodness sake! Figaro! I'm here. Hey, Figaro! I'm here. Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro up, Figaro down, Swifter and swifter I'm like a spark: I'm the handyman of the city. Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, very good; Fortunately for you I will not fail.
A link to this wonderful artist personal website:
I send my kind and warm regards,
Watch videos with other singers performing Largo al factotum:
SCENA 2 Figaro, con la chitarra appesa al collo e detto, nascosto
N. 2 - Cavatina
FIGARO Largo al factotum della città. Presto a bottega, ché l'alba è già. Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità! Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, brayissimo; fortunatissimo per verità! Pronto a far tutto, la notte e il giorno sempre d'intorno, in giro sta. Miglior cuccagna per un barbiere, vita più nobile, no, non si dà. Rasori e pettini, lancette e forbici, al mio comando tutto qui sta. V'è la risorsa, poi, del mestiere colla donnetta col cavaliere Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere per un barbiere di qualità! Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, donne, ragazzi, vecchi, fanciulle: Qua la parrucca Presto la barba Qua la sanguigna Presto il biglietto Figaro ... Figaro Son qua, son qua. Figaro... Figaro... Eccomi qua. Ahimè, che furia! Ahimè, che folla! Una alla volta, per carità! Figaro su, Figaro giù Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine: sono il factotum della città. Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo; a te fortuna non mancherà.
English Libretto or Translation:
Figaro enters with a guitar around his neck
FIGARO La ran la le ra la ran la la. Make way for the factotum of the city. La ran la la, etc. Rushing to his shop for dawn is here. La ran la la, etc. What a merry life, what gay pleasures for a barber of quality. Ah, bravo Figaro, bravo, bravissimo, bravo! La ran la la, etc. Most fortunate of men, indeed you are! La ran la la, etc.
Ready for everything by night or by day, always in bustle, in constant motion. A better lot for a barber, a nobler life does not exist. La la ran la la ran la, etc.
Razors and combs, lancets and scissors, at my command everything's ready. Then there are "extras" part of my trade, business for ladies and cavaliers … La la ran la …la …la. Ah, what a merry life, what gay pleasures, for a barber of quality.
All call for me, all want me, ladies and children, old men and maidens. I need a wig, I want a shave, leeches to bleed me, here, take this note. All call for me, all want me. I need a wig, I want a shave, here, take this note. Ho, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, etc. Heavens! what a commotion! Heavens! What a crowd! One at a time, for pity's sake.
Ho, Figaro! - I am here! Figaro here, Figaro there, Figaro up. Figaro down. Quicker and quicker I go like greased lightning, make way for the factotum of the city,
Ah, bravo, Figaro, bravo, bravissimo, On you good fortune will always smile. La la ran la, etc. I am the factotum of the city.