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     Verdi: LA TRAVIATA    Table of Contents      Mascagni: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA

The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes

- Libretti
- Verdi: AIDA [Includes RealAudio Selections]


Verdi: AIDA [ Click for RealAudio Selections ]

At the turn of the century, Verdi's Aida was far from being what it later became, the most frequently-performed opera in the Met repertory: up to that point, it had received fewer than half as many performances as Faust. But its popularity was growing, and some of the singers who would staff the more numerous Met Aidas of the next decade or so were already in place for the performances Mapleson recorded: Emma Eames and Johanna Gadski, Louise Homer (who had made her debut, as Amneris, on December 22, 1900), and Antonio Scotti (who had arrived the season before). Though Mapleson didn't catch the last Met Radamès of Jean De Reszke, on January 7, 1901, we do hear something of Emilio De Marchi, the principal Radamès during the next two seasons (after which Enrico Caruso would take possession of the role). Aida had four performances in the season of Homer's debut and Jean De Reszke's departure, five and seven respectively in the following years. The Glackens notebook lists a total of seven Aida cylinders, only six of which appear to have survived (our Band 11 is from the New York Public Library group of cylinders, which weren't included in the notebook); surprisingly, the descriptions are not all easy to match up with the actual recordings, although all six seem to come from the same performance, on January 31, 1903, with close if not identical playing speeds.

Band 5

Act I, Scene 1: "Su! del Nilo al sacro lido" ... "Ritorna vincitor!" (ending just before aria)

Johanna Gadski (s), Aida

Louise Homer (a), Amneris

Emilio De Marchi (t), Radamès

Roberto Vanni (t), Messenger

Marcel Journet (bs), Ramfis

Adolph Mühlmann (b), King

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Luigi Mancinelli

January 31, 1903

[Mapleson notation on container: "Ritorna vincitor, No. 2, Jan. 31, 1903"; same notation on slip; Glackens 8. The "No. 2" suggests that there was a cylinder, now lost, of the preceding passage.]

Egypt has been invaded by the Ethiopians. Radamès is named to command the army. As the King and the high priest Ramfis exhort the populace, the other characters express their private emotions: both the princess Amneris and her slave Aida (in reality an Ethiopian princess) are in love with Radamès.

[original] Simultaneous singing begins

CHORUS
Su! del Nilo ai sacro lido
sien barriera i nostri petti;
non echeggi che un sol grido:
guerra, guerra e morte allo stranier!

RAMFIS
...ognun rammenti
che in poter dei Numi, de' Numi solo
stan le sorti del guerrier.

KING
Su, su! del Nilo al sacro lido
accorrete, Egizii eroi.
Da ogni cor prorompa un grido:
guerra e morte allo stranier! Simultaneous singing endsSimultaneous singing begins

AIDA (aside)
Per chi piango? per chi piango?
per chi prego?
qual poter m'avvince a lui!
Deggio amarlo ed è custui
un nemico, uno stranier!

RADAMÈS
Sacro fremito di gloria
tutta l'anima m'investe.
Su, corriamo alla vittoria!
guerra, guerra e morte allo stranier! Simultaneous singing ends

AMNERIS
Di mia man ricevi, o duce,
il vessillo glorioso;
ti sia guida, ti sia luce
della gloria sul sentier!

CHORUS
Su! del Nilo al sacro lido
sien barriera i nostri petti;
non echeggi che un sol grido:
guerra, guerra e morte allo stranier! (During this choral strain, the principals, and the priests, with Ramfis, repeat their earlier material.)

ALL except Aida
Guerra! guerra! guerra! guerra! guerra!
guerra! guerra! sterminio!
sterminio all'invasor!
guerra! guerra! guerra! guerra! ecc.

AMNERIS
Ritorna vincitor!

ALL except Radamès
Ritorna vincitor!

[translation] Simultaneous singing begins

CHORUS
Onward! For the Nile's sacred shore
let our own breasts be the shield;
let there sound but a single cry:
war, war and death to the foreign invader!

RAMFIS
...Let all remember
that in the hands of the Gods alone
rest the fates of our soldiers.

KING
Arise, arise! To the Nile's sacred shore
go forth, Egyptian heroes.
From every heart there breaks a cry:
war and death to the foreign invader! Simultaneous singing endsSimultaneous singing begins

AIDA (aside)
For whom shall I weep? For whom shall I weep?
For whom shall I pray?
What power ties me to him?
I must love him, and yet he is
an enemy, a foreigner.

RADAMÈS
A holy tremor of glory
fills all my soul.
Arise, let us hasten to victory!
War, war and death to the foreign invader! Simultaneous singing ends

AMNERIS
From my hand, o leader, receive
the glorious banner;
let it be your guide and light
on the path of victory!

CHORUS
Onward! For the Nile's sacred shore
let our own breasts be the shield;
let there sound but a single cry:
war, war and death to the foreign invader! (During this choral strain, the principals, and the priests, with Ramfis, repeat their earlier material.)

ALL except Aida
War! war! war! war! war!
War! war! destruction!
Destruction to the invader!
War! war! war! war! etc.

AMNERIS
Return victorious!

ALL except Radamès
Return victorious!

raster Band 6   [Click to Listen]

Act I, Scene 2: Temple Scene excerpt : "Ah! Ah! noi t'invochiamo" ... "onde ebbe luce il sol, ah! ah! noi [t'invochiamo!]"

Marguerite Marilly (s), Priestess

Marcel Journet (bs), Ramfis

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Luigi Mancinelli

January 31, 1903

[Slip; Glackens 19: "This is some of Priestess offstage...magnificently clear...Too bad Ternina never had an offstage part!" At the beginning of the cylinder is the introduction to Arditi's Parla Vals; see Side 12/Band 5. This cylinder was cracked and missing a segment, which was fortunately still in the container and could be held in position with the help of rubber

[Begin Page 40]
bands and tape. By recording in three segments, it was possible to recover everything except a short passage (marked in the Italian text).]

In the temple of Vulcan at Memphis, a priestess invokes the god.

[original]

HIGH PRIESTESS

[Possente, possente Fthà,
del mondo spirito animator,] Simultaneous singing begins
ah! ah! noi t'invochiamo!

PRIESTESSES
Noi t'invochiamo! Simultaneous singing ends

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Tu che dal nulla hai tratto
l'onde, la terra, il ciel,
noi t'invochiamo!

HIGH PRIESTESS
Immenso, immenso Fthà,
del mondo spirto fecondator, Simultaneous singing begins
ah! ah! noi t'invochiamo!

PRIESTESSES
Noi t'invochiamo! Simultaneous singing ends

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Nume che del tuo spirito
sei figlio e [ missing section begins→ ] genitor,
noi t'invochiamo! [ ←missing section ends ]]

HIGH PRIESTESS
Fuoco increato, eterno,
onde ebbe luce il sol,
ah! ah! noi [t'invochiamo!]

[translation]

HIGH PRIESTESS

Almighty, almighty Phtha,
animating spirit of the world, Simultaneous singing begins
ah! ah! we call upon Thee!

PRIESTESSES
We call upon Thee! Simultaneous singing ends

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Thou who made from nothing
the waters, the earth, the heavens,
we call upon Thee!

HIGH PRIESTESS
Great, great Phtha,
fructifying spirit of the world, Simultaneous singing begins
ah! ah! we call upon Thee!

PRIESTESSES
We call upon Thee! Simultaneous singing ends

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
God who of thy spirit
art both son and father.
we call upon Thee!

HIGH PRIESTESS
Increate, eternal flame,
whence the sun took light,
ah! ah! we call upon Thee!

Band 7

Act I, Scene 2: Temple Scene excerpt : "[Nu]me, custode e vindice"..."Noi t'invochiam!"

Marguerite Marilly (s), Priestess

Emilio De Marchi (t), Radamès

Marcel Journet (bs), Ramfis

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Luigi Mancinelli

January 31, 1903

[Slip: "Temple Cho. Act I Aida Jan. 31, 1903"; possibly Glackens 12, misdated "Jan 30 1903"--but that says "Clear Temple cho. no soloists," and in this De Marchi is quite clearly audible. Perhaps it should be identified with Glackens 122, described as "Aida--concerted number close of Act one not Two."]

In the temple, Ramfis invests Radamès with the sacred armor.

[original] Simultaneous singing begins

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
[Nu]me, custode ed vindice,
di questa sacra terra,
la mano tua distendi
sovra, sovra l'egizio suol!

RADAMÈS
Proteggi tu,
proteggi tu, difendi
d'Egitto il sacro, il sacro suol! Simultaneous singing ends

PRIESTESSES
Possente, possente Fthà,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
Possente Fthà,

PRIESTESSES
del mondo creator,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
spirto fecondator,

RADAMÈS, echoed by RAMFIS
tu che dal nulla
hai tratto il mondo,
noi t'invochiamo!

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
tu che dal nulla
hai tratto l'onde,
la terra, il cielo,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
noi t'invochiamo!
tu che dal nulla
hai tratto il mondo,
noi t'invochiamo!

PRIESTESSES
Spirto animator,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
noi t'invochiam!

PRIESTESSES
spirto fecondator,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
noi t'invochiam!

PRIESTESSES
immenso Fthà,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
noi t'ïnvochiam!

[translation] Simultaneous singing begins

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
O God, guardian and judge/avenger,
of this sacred land,
stretch out Thy hand
over, over Egyptian soil!

RADAMÈS
Protect Thou,
protect Thou, defend Thou
the sacred soil of Egypt! Simultaneous singing ends

PRIESTESSES
Almighty, almighty Phtha,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
Almighty Phtha,

PRIESTESSES
creator of the world.

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
fructifying spirit.

RADAMÈS, echoed by RAMFIS
Thou who from nothing
has made the world,
we call upon Thee!

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Thou who from nothing
has made the waters,
the earth, the sky,

RADAMÈS RAMFIS, PRIESTS
we call upon Thee!
Thou who from nothing
has made the world,
we call upon Thee!

PRIESTESSES
Animating spirit,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
we call upon Thee!

PRIESTESSES
fructifying spirit,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
we call upon Thee!

PRIESTESSES
Great Phtha,

RADAMÈS, RAMFIS, PRIESTS
we call upon Thee!

Band 8

Act II, Scene 2: Triumphal Scene excerpt : "Vieni, o guerriero vindice" to entrance of Radamès

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Luigi Mancinelli

January 31, 1903

[Possibly Glackens 27: "Aida--Procession... clear but of no interest unless bass turns out to be someone important." (Did they, on their primitive equipment, confuse the priestly chorus with a solo bass?) Speed matches two other adjacent cylinders from this performance.]

At the entrance to the city of Thebes, the Egyptian people hail the victorious Radamès. This section follows the famous "Triumphal March" with the stage trumpets. (There is one untrackable groove lift in this cylinder.)

[original] Simultaneous singing begins

PEOPLE
Vieni, o guerriero vindice,
vieni a gioir con noi;
sul passo degli eroi,
sul passo degli eroi
i lauri, i fior versiam.

PRIESTS
Agli arbitri supremi il guardo ergete.
il guardo ergete, il guardo ergete; Simultaneous singing ends
grazie agli Dei, agli Dei rendete
nel fortunato di, nel fortunato di.

PEOPLE
Vieni, o guerrier, vieni a gioir,
a gioir con noi, o guerrier, vieni,
o guerrier, vieni a gioir con noi,
vieni, vieni!
Vieni, o guerrier,
vieni a gioir con noi,

PRIESTS
grazie agli Dei,

PEOPLE
sul passo degli eroi,
i lauri, i fior versiam.
grazie agli Dei,

PEOPLE
vieni, o guerriero,

PRIESTS
grazie agli Dei,

PEOPLE
vieni a gioir con noi;

PRIESTS
rendete,

PEOPLE
sul passo degli eroi,
i lauri, i fior versiam.

PRIESTS
grazie agli Dei rendete,
grazie rendete
nel fortunato di... (They continue in this vein)

PEOPLE
Gloria! gloria! gloria,
gloria all'Egitto, ecc ., glo[ria!]

[translation] Simultaneous singing begins

PEOPLE
Come, oh conquering warrior,
come and rejoice with us;
in the footsteps of the heroes,
in the footsteps of the heroes
we cast laurels and flowers.

PRIESTS
To the supreme arbiters, lift your gaze,
lift your gaze, lift your gaze; Simultaneous singing ends
render thanks to the Gods, render thanks to the Gods
on this happy day, on this happy day.

PEOPLE
Come, oh warrior, come to rejoice,
to rejoice with us, oh warrior, come,
oh warrior, come to rejoice with us,
come, come!
Come, oh warrior,
come to rejoice with us,

PRIESTS
thanks to the Gods,

PEOPLE
in the footsteps of the heroes
we cast laurels and flowers.

[Begin Page 41]

PRIESTS
thanks to the Gods,

PEOPLE
Come, oh warrior,

PRIESTS
thanks to the Gods,

PEOPLE
come to rejoice with us;

PRIESTS
render,

PEOPLE
in the footsteps of the heroes
we cast laurels and flowers.

PRIESTS
render thanks to the Gods,
render thanks
on this happy day... (They continue in this vein)

PEOPLE
Glory! glory! glory!
Glory to Egypt, etc ., glory!

Band 9

Act II, Scene 2: Ma tu, o Re excerpt : "[doman voi po]tria il fato colpir" ... "O Re possente, Re"

Johanna Gadski (s), Aida

Louise Homer (a), Amneris

Emilio De Marchi (t), Radamès

Giuseppe Campanari (b), Amonasro

Marcel Journet (bs), Ramfis

Adolph Mühlmann (b), King

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Luigi Mancinelli

January 31, 1903

[Possibly Glackens 16 undated: "Quite good bass, soprano & tenor all heard at times between & with chorus"; snake with a hard-to-decipher date that could be "1/23" or "21?/03" (there was an Aida performance on January 21, 1903, with Gadski, Kirkby-Lunn, De Marchi, Campanari, Edouard De Reszke as Ramfis, and Journet as the King, conducted by Mancinelli). Since the playback speed matches others from the January 31 performance, we have preferred that attribution.]

Among the prisoners Radamès has brought back from Ethiopia, Aida recognizes her father the king, disguised as an ordinary soldier. Amonasro pleads for clemency, and is joined by all except the vengeful Ramfis and his fellow-priests. Mapleson's recording begins in midstream, just before the initial prayer is repeated by the ensemble.

[original]

AIDA

Doman voi po]tria il fato colpir. Ah!

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Si compisca de' Numi, de' Numi il voler! (The others are also finishing various phrases at this point, and a cadenza from Aida leads back to the prayer:)

AIDA and AMONASRO
Ma tu, o Re, tu signore possente,
a costoro ti mostra clemente;
oggi noi siam percossi dal fato,
doman voi potria il fato colpir. (Under these words, Amneris rages over Radamès' clear love for Aida, Radamès observes that grief makes Aida still lovelier, Ramfis and the priests oppose the plea for mercy, and the prisoners and populace beseech compassion.)

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Struggi, o Re,

AIDA (while the other principals express various sentiments)
doman voi...

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
struggi, o Re,

AIDA
doman voi...

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
queste ciurme, Simultaneous singing begins

AIDA
il fato potria doman voi,
potria colpir,
doman voi potria il fato,
doman voi potria colpir,

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
fur dai Numi votati all morte,
si compisca dei numi il voler!
fur dai Numi, dai Numi votati all morte,
fur votati all morte! (All pause; then:) Simultaneous singing endsSimultaneous singing begins

AMONASRO, then AIDA
doman voi potria colpir.

RADAMÈS
Nel mio petto ravviva l'ardor, l'ardor. Simultaneous singing ends (The others also echo their previous sentiments.)

[translation]

AIDA

Tomorrow, fate might well strike you.

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Let the will of the Gods, of the Gods be done! (The others are also finishing various phrases at this point, and a cadenza from Aida leads back to the prayer:)

AIDA and AMONASRO
But you, o King, mighty lord.
look on these prisoners with clemency;
today we are struck down by fate,
but tomorrow fate might well strike you. (Under these words, Amneris rages over Radamès' clear love for Aida, Radamès observes that grief makes Aida still lovelier, Ramfis and the priests oppose the plea for mercy, and the prisoners and populace beseech compassion.)

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Destroy, o King,

AIDA (while the other principals express various sentiments)
tomorrow you...

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
destroy, o King,

AIDA
tomorrow you...

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
these ferocious slaves, Simultaneous singing begins

AIDA
but tomorrow fate might well strike you,
might well strike you,
tomorrow fate might strike you,
tomorrow might well strike you,

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
They were condemned to die by the gods,
let the will of the gods be done!
They were condemned to die by the gods, by the gods,
they were condemned to die! (All pause; then:) Simultaneous singing endsSimultaneous singing begins

AMONASRO, then AIDA
tomorrow might well strike you.

RADAMÈS
In my breast [each tear] strengthens my ardor, my ardor. Simultaneous singing ends (The others also echo their previous sentiments.)

Band 10

Act II. Scene 2: Triumphal Scene finale: "[a] me l'oblio, le lacrime... gloria all' Egitto!" ... to end of act

Johanna Gadski (s), Aida

Louise Homer (a), Amneris

Emilio De Marchi (t), Radamès

Giuseppe Campanari (b), Amonasro

Marcel Journet (bs), Ramfis

Adolph Mühlmann (b), King

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Luigi Mancinelli

January 31, 1903

[Probably Glackens 103: "closing scene Gotter--Ternina" crossed out, described as "Another Aida--procession with papier-mache animals and fruits. Very loud and clear." This cylinder was found at the Mapleson Music Library in February 1982, in a Columbia container with a crossed-out snake for Götterdämmerung with Ternina, Jean De Reszke, and Damrosch conducting, and Mapleson notation: "Closing Scene." Glackens gives no date, but the speed roughly matches the cylinders firmly ascribed to this performance.]

Band 11

Act II, Scene 2: Triumphal Scene finale: "[Gloria] all' Egitto, ad Iside"... almost to end of vocal parts

Emma Eames (s), Aida

Louise Homer (a), Amneris

Emilio De Marchi (t), Radamès

Antonio Scotti (b), Amonasro

Edouard De Reszke (bs), Ramfis

Adolph Mühlmann (b), King

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Luigi Mancinelli

February 15 (matinee), 1902 (?)

[No direct identification, but a container in the Seltsam group (now holding Side 11/Band 8a) has an Aida snake dated February 15, 1902, with Mapleson notation "Best Processional Atto 2, Moderato"--a marking that, however, does not literally occur anywhere in this scene. At any rate, the playing speed is quite different from the other Aida excerpts.]

[Begin Page 42]

The King has promised Radamès to grant any request; the general asks for the freedom of the Ethiopian prisoners. The King compromises between Radamès and Ramfis: he agrees to free all the prisoners except Aida's father, who will remain as a hostage. The King also grants Radamès a less welcome reward: the hand of the princess Amneris. (Band 10, near the end of which there is an untraceable groove lift, completes the recordings from the January 31, 1903, performance; Band 11, less well recorded, begins at an earlier point and does not quite reach the end of the act.)

[original]

CHORUS

Gloria [ Band 11 begins→ ] all'Egitto, ad Iside,
che il sacro suol difende,
s'intrecci il loto al lauro,
s'intrecci il loto al lauro
sul crin, sul crin del vincitor. (To the same music, the Ethiopians are praising Egyptian clemency.)

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Inni leviamo ad Iside
che il sacro suol difende!
Preghiam che i fati arridano,
preghiam che i fati arridano,
fausti alla patria ognor. Simultaneous singing begins

AIDA
Qual speme omai piu restami?
A lui la gloria e il trono,
a me l'oblio, le lacrime
di disperato amor.

RADAMÈS
D'avverso Nume il folgore
sul capo mio discende,
ah no! d'Egitto il soglio
non val d'Aida il cor.

AMNERIS
Dall'intenso giubilo
innebriata io sono;
tutti in un dì si compiono
i sogni del mio cor.

RAMFIS
Preghiam che i fati,
preghiam che i fati arridano,
fausti alla patria ognor,
fausti alla patria ognor.

CHORUS
Gloria ad Iside! Gloria! Gloria! Simultaneous singing ends

AMONASRO (to Aida)
Fa cor: della tua patria
i lieti eventi aspetta;
per noi della vendetta
gia prossimo e l'albor. Simultaneous singing begins

RADAMÈS
Qual innatesa folgore!
qual innatesa folgore
[ Band 10 begins→ ] sui capo mio discende!

AMNERIS
Tutte in un di si compiano
le gioie [ Band 10 begins→ ] del mio cor.

AIDA
A me l'oblio, a [ Band 10 begins→ ] me l'oblio,
le lacrime, le lacrime.

AMONASRO
Fa cor, fa core, [ Band 10 begins→ ] fa cor, fa cor. Simultaneous singing ends (The King, Ramfis, the priests and populace also repeat earlier sentiments.)

CHORUS
Gloria all'Egitto, ad Iside,
che il sacro suol difende,
s'intrecci il loto al lauro,
s'intrecci il loto al lauro,
sul crin, sul crin del vincitor. (With this music as thread, the principals, priests, prisoners, and populace repeat their earlier sentiments. The tempo quickens, and the same words are repeated again, to new music.)

[translation]

CHORUS

Glory to Egypt and to Isis,
who defends the sacred land,
weave lotus and laurel,
weave lotus and laurel
on the brow of the victor. (To the same music, the Ethiopians are praising Egyptian clemency.)

RAMFIS and PRIESTS
Let us raise hymns to Isis
who defends the sacred land!
Let us pray that the fates will smile,
let us pray that the fates will smile
favorably on our land forever. Simultaneous singing begins

AIDA
What hope is now left to me?
For him, the glory and the throne,
for me oblivion, the tears
of a love without hope.

RADAMÈS
The lightning of an adverse god
has come down upon my head;
ah no, the throne of Egypt
is not worth Aida's heart.

AMNERIS
With intense joy
I am inebriated:
in a single day, all the dreams
of my heart have come true.

RAMFIS
Let us pray that the fates.
let us pray that the fates will smile,
favorably on our land forever,
favorably on our land forever.

CHORUS
Glory to Isis! Glory! Glory! Simultaneous singing ends

AMONASRO (to Aida)
Take heart: wait for happier events
to befall your country;
for us the dawn of vengeance
is already near. Simultaneous singing begins

RADAMÈS
What unexpected lightning,
what unexpected lightning
has come down upon my head,

AMNERIS
In a single day, all the joys
of my heart have been achieved.

AIDA
For me, oblivion and tears.

AMONASRO
Take heart, take heart, take heart, take heart. Simultaneous singing ends (The King, Ramfis, the priests and populace also repeat earlier sentiments.)

CHORUS
Glory to Egypt and to Isis,
who defends the sacred land,
weave lotus and laurel,
weave lotus and laurel
on the brow of the victor. (With this music as thread, the principals, priests, prisoners, and populace repeat their earlier sentiments. The tempo quickens, and the same words are repeated again, to new music.)


     Verdi: LA TRAVIATA    Table of Contents      Mascagni: CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA