The famous aria "La donna è mobile" from Verdi's opera Rigoletto.
Recorded by Caruso Monday, 16. March 1908.
Monumental performance (if you ask me....) - enjoy the tremendous power of his voice and at the same time his gentle sensitivity. This digital transfer from an original 78 recording may be the closest we'll ever get to how Caruso sounded. A lot of nuances have been lost in the recording due to the poor recording technique, but one can still hear and feel the impact his voice must have had on people at the time. And it is not even a live recording (Caruso never recorded anything live).
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Watch videos with other singers performing La donna e mobile:
DUCA La donna è mobile Qual piuma al vento, Muta d'accento E di pensiero. Sempre un amabile Leggiadro viso, In pianto o in riso È menzognero.
È sempre misero Chi a lei s'affida, Chi le confida Mal cauto il core! Pur mai non sentesi Felice appieno Chi su quel seno Non liba amore!
La donna è mobile, ecc.
Sparafucile rientra con una bottiglia di vino e due bicchieri che depone sulla tavola: quindi batte col pomo della sua lunga spada due colpi al soffitto. A quel segnale una ridente giovane, in costume di zingara, scende a salti la scala. Il Duca corre per abbracciarla, ma ella gli sfugge. Frattanto Sparafucile, uscito sulla via, dice a parte a Rigoletto:
SPARAFUCILE È là il vostr'uomo …viver dee o morire?
RIGOLETTO Più tardi tornerò l'opra a compire.
Sparafucile s'allontana dietro la casa verso il fiume.
English Libretto or Translation:
DUKE Women are as fickle as feathers in the wind, simple in speech, and simple in mind. Always the loveable, sweet, laughing face, but laughing or crying, the face is false for sure.
If you rely on her you will regret it, and if you trust her you are undone! Yet none can call himself fully contented who has not tasted love in her arms!
Women are as fickle, etc.
Sparafucile returns with a bottle of wine and two glasses, which he puts on the table; then he strikes the ceiling twice with the pommel of his sword. At this signal, a buxom young woman in gypsy costume comes jumping down the stairs. The Duke runs to kiss her, but she eludes him. Meanwhile, Sparafucile, having slipped out into the road, speaks softly to Rigoletto:
SPARAFUCILE Your man's in there. Is he to live or die?
RIGOLETTO I'll come back later to conclude our business.
Sparafucile moves off behind the house in the direction of the river.