Monday, 14 February 2011

Valentine’s Day

For my solos for Barbara’s singing workshop in April I've decided on “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” from Carmen and “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from L’Elisire d’Amore. Having transposed “La Fleur” down to A flat, I've been learning it by heart for the last three or four weeks. I find that remembering the words is the most difficult and I've been practising them in my head whenever I had five uninterrupted minutes.

Weeks ago I booked a lesson with Corinne at lunch time on Valentine’s Day, and the opportunity to give Corinne a surprise, and Christiane a romantic Valentine’s Day present was too good to miss! My performance of “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” for Corinne certainly got all her attention! That was, of course, before she started picking out the sections where it could be improved. I'd already decided that the aria demands a very direct interaction between Don José and Carmen. It is after all a powerful declaration of love! She encouraged me to cast her in the role of Carmen, and as I sang I tried to include gestures, but about the only thing I could manage was to go down on my knees at the end and take her by the hand. Even that disturbed the singing, so more practice is required. I also need to perform it more consistently. Corinne suggested additional places to breathe, and others where I should take a bit longer or change the character of the voice, all of which was very helpful. We were both so absorbed in the task that we ran over time without noticing. As I left she said that it will be a wonderful present for Christiane and that there will be a few tears!

The performance for Christiane was just before dinner and Corinne was right about the tears!

If you want to see it performed properly have a look at the video of Jose Carreras below or Roberto Alagna here. I have included the words and the translation below it.

La fleur que tu m'avais jet_é_e,
dans ma prison m'était resté_e.
Flétrie et sèch_e, cet_te fleur
gardait toujours sa douce odeur;
The flower that you tossed to me,
In my prison stayed with me.
Withered and dried, this flower
always kept its sweet odour
Et pendant des heur_es entièr_es,
sur mes yeux, fermant mes paupières,
de cette odeur je m'enivrais
And for whole hours,
closing my eyelids,
I became intoxicated with this odour
Et dans la nu_it je te voyais!
Je me prenais à te maudir_e,
à te_dé_test_er, à me di_re:
and in the night I saw you!
I surprised myself cursing you,
detesting you, saying to myself:
Pourquoi faut_il que le destin
l'_ait mi_se là sur mon chemin?
Why has destiny
put her there on my path?
Puis je m'accusais de blasphèm_e,
Et je ne sentais en moi_mêm_e,
Je ne sentais qu'un seul désir,
Un seul désir, un seul espoir:
te revoir, O Carmen, oui, te revoir!
Then I accused myself of blasphemy,
and I didn't feel myself,
I only felt but one desire,
a sole desire, a sole hope:
to see you again, oh Carmen, yes to see you again!
Car tu n'avais eu qu'à paraître,
Qu'à j_e_t_er un regard sur moi,
Pour t'emparer de tout mon être,
For you had only to appear,
only to toss a glance towards me,
in order to take hold of all my being,
Ô ma Carmen!
Et j'étais un_e chose à toi.
Carmen, je t'a_im_e
Oh my Carmen!
And I was yours.
Carmen, I love you!


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