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     Meyerbeer: LES HUGUENOTS    Table of Contents      Gounod: ROMÉO ET JULIETTE

The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes

- Libretti
- Meyerbeer: L'AFRICAINE


Meyerbeer: L'AFRICAINE

Although it endured in the Met repertory until 1934, longer than Les Huguenots, Meyerbeer's L'Africaine was much less frequently performed in the Grau years--in fact, it received only a single performance during Mapleson's recording seasons. (This fortunately renders entirely unproblematic the dating of the apposite cylinders--which is in any case consistently confirmed by the Glackens notebook and by the snakes on the containers for the last two segments of Band 3. Except for slight variations in the snippets on Band 2, the playing speeds also match.) The principals sing in French; the chorus is only heard singing proper names, so we cannot tell what language they used.

Band 1

Act IV: Ô paradis excerpts :

(a) "Ô paradis" ... "à nous cet Éden retrouvé!"

(b) "...salut! Monde nouveau" to end of aria

Jean De Reszke (t), Vasco Da Gama

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Phillippe Flon

March 15, 1901

[Snake with date for both; Glackens 119, 100.]

Between his two cylinders from the opera's most famous aria, in which Vasco Da Gama greets the new world he has discovered, Mapleson managed to miss only two lines.

[original]

VASCO

(a)
Ô paradis, sorti de l'onde,
ciel si bleu, ciel si pur,
dont mes yeux sont ravis,
tu m'appartiens! Ô nouveau monde
dont j'aurai doté mon pays!
dont j'aurai doté mon pays!
À nous ces campagnes vermeilles,
à nous cet Eden retrouvé!
(b)
[Ô tresors charmants,
ô merveilles], salut!
Monde nouveau, tu m'appartiens,
sois donc à moi, à moi,
sois donc à moi, ô beau pays!
Monde nouveau, tu m'appartiens,
sois donc à moi,
sois donc à moi,
à moi, à moi!

[translation]

VASCO

Oh paradise risen from the waves,
oh azure sky, oh fragrant air.
all enchant my eyes;
fair new world, thou art mine!
As a radiant gift, I'll bestow
thee on my native land!
For us these golden landscapes,
for us this Eden recovered!
Oh charming treasures,
oh wonders, hail!
New world, thou art mine,
be mine, be mine,
be mine, oh beautiful land!
New world, thou art mine,
be mine,
be mine,
mine, mine!

Band 2

Act IV: Brahma! Wischnou! excerpts :

(a) "[Brahma!] Wischnou! Shiva!"

(b) "Brahma! Wischnou! Shiva!"

Pol Plançon (bs), Grand Brahmin

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Phillippe Flon

March 15, 1901

[Snake; Glackens 74.]

Later in the same act, for some reason, Mapleson elected to record the brief choral invocation led by the Grand Brahmin, in two of its three occurrences; the first time, he missed the opening call to "Brahma!"

[original]

GRAND BRAHMIN, echoed by CHORUS

Brahma! Wischnou! Shiva!
Gloire à vous!

[translation]

GRAND BRAHMIN, echoed by CHORUS

Brahma! Vishnu! Shiva!
Glory to thee!

Band 3

Act IV: Sélika-Vasco duet excerpts :

(a) "Jamais nulle mortelle" ... "non, non, non, non, non, non, jamais!"

(b) "[Toi, mon époux! ah!] Ô transports" ... "ô doux transports!"

(c) "sois ma femme!" ... "Des mortels, bonheur ignoré!"

Lucienne Bréval (s), Sélika

Jean De Reszke (t), Vasco Da Gama

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Phillippe Flon

March 15, 1901

[Item (a) as Band 2; (b) and (c) both in containers with snakes; Glackens 109, 79. the "Brahma! Wischnou!" cylinder concludes with a faint tenor solo, which John Stratton identified as Vasco's "Jamais nulle mortelle," early in the subsequent duet. That, and two further cylinders from the duet, comprise this band. The second cylinder ends with the family vignette from April 8, 1909 ("just come from a very windy walk on Brooklyn Bridge"; Side 12/Band 12c).]

The princess Sélika has saved Vasco's life from her subjects by asserting that he is her husband. After an East Indian wedding ceremony. Vasco is determined to abide by the vows he has given her, and to forget his former love for Inez, whom he believes dead.

[original]

VASCO

(a)
Jamais nulle mortelle,
non, non, jamais nulle mortelle
à mes regards charmés
ne s'offrit aussi belle,
et de ton oeil de feu
la dévorante ardeur,
comme un rayon de flamme
a passé dans mon coeur,
a passé dans mon coeur!
Te quitter à present,
non, jamais, c'est impossible,
non, non, non, non, jamais,
non, jamais, jamais,
non, non, non, jamais,
non, non, non, non, non, non, jamais!

SÉLIKA
(b)
[Toi, mon époux! ah!] ah!
Ô transports, ô douce extase,
dont frémit mon coeur enivré,
feu divin qui m'embrasse
des mortels bonheur ignoré! Simultaneous singing begins

VASCO
Le ciel nous donne sur la terre
l'amour dont s'enivrent les dieux!

SÉLIKA
Bonheur suprême, plaisir des cieux! ah! Simultaneous singing ends
Je me sens au ciel ravie ...

BOTH
...sous tes baisers!
Aimer, c'est la vie, la vie!
Ô transports, ô douce extase,
dont frémit mon coeur enivré,
feu divin qui m'embrasse,
feu divin, ah,
feu divin qui m'embrasse,
ô doux transports!

VASCO
(c)
[Ô ma Sélika,
vous regnez sur mon âme.
Devant ton Dieu,
devant le mien,]
sois ma femme!

SÉLIKA
Ta femme?
Mais songes y bien,
car moi, moi, ton epouse, je le sens,
je serais jalouse de tout.
même du souvenir de celle qui n'est plus,
et qu'il faudrait banir.
En aurais-tu la force?

VASCO
Oui, près de toi, Sélika,
j'oublierai tout ...

SÉLIKA
Quoi, tout?

VASCO
... près de toi, Sélika,
j'oublierai tout!

SÉLIKA
Tu le jures?

VASCO
Je le jure!

SÉLIKA
Devant ton dieu?

VASCO
Devant mon dieu! Simultaneous singing begins

SÉLIKA
À moi, toujours, à moi!

VASCO
À toi, toujours, à toi! Simultaneous singing ends

BOTH
Ah! Ô transports, ô douce extase,
dont frémit mon coeur enivré,
feu divin qui m'embrasse
des mortels bonheur ignoré!

[translation]

VASCO

No mortal woman,
no, no mortal woman
to my glances such charms
ever offered before,
and from your fiery eyes
the devouring ardor,
like a ray of flame,
penetrates to my heart,
penetrates to my heart!
To leave you now,
no, never, it is impossible,
no, no, no, no, never,
no, never, never,
no, no, no, never,
no, no, no, no, no, no, never!

SÉLIKA
You, my spouse! ah! ah!
What transport wild, what sweet delight
my fond heart now feels,
a god-like flame that inspires joy,
and teaches us to love! Simultaneous singing begins

VASCO
Heaven gives to us on earth
the love that intoxicates the gods!

SÉLIKA
Bliss supreme, bright gift of heaven! ah! Simultaneous singing ends
To worlds above I seem to soar.

BOTH
pressed to thy lips!
Ah, love is life indeed.
What transport wild, what sweet delight
my fond heart now feels,
a god-like flame that inspires joy,
a god-like flame, ah,
a god-like flame that inspires joy,
what transport wild!

VASCO
[Oh my Sélika,
you reign over my heart.
Before your God,
before mine,]
be my wife!

SÉLIKA
Your wife!
But think well about it,
for were I your wife, I know it,
I would be jealous of all,

[Begin Page 31]

even of the memory of she who is no more,
which you would have to forget.
Have you that strength?

VASCO
Yes, when at your side, Sélika,
I will forget everything!

SÉLIKA
Indeed, everything?

VASCO
When at your side, Sélika,
I will forget everything!

SÉLIKA
Do you swear it?

VASCO
I swear it!

SÉLIKA
Before your God?

VASCO
Before my God! Simultaneous singing begins

SÉLIKA
Mine, forever mine!

VASCO
Thine, forever thine! Simultaneous singing ends

BOTH
Ah! What transport wild, what sweet delight
my fond heart now feels,
a god-like flame that inspires joy,
and teaches us to love!


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				   Table of Contents      Gounod: ROMÉO ET JULIETTE