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     Donizetti: LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT    Table of Contents      Mozart: IL FLAUTO MAGICO (Die Zauberflöte)

The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes

- Libretti
- Donizetti: LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR


Donizetti: LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR

This favorite romantic tragedy and coloratura showpiece received but two performances during the Mapleson seasons, both in 1900-01, both with Nellie Melba in the title role, and both billed as "ending with the Mad Scene"--a custom of the day that precluded any possibility of the tenor (on both occasions, Albert Saléza) garnering more applause with his death scene than the soprano with her tour de force. We have two cylinders from the second of those two performances, on March 2, when the audience got a Cavalleria with Ternina and Cremonini in lieu of the Lucia Tomb Scene. In addition, on March 18, La Bohème also "ended with the Mad Scene," for Melba occasionally offered an encore to the Puccini opera, not yet the popular favorite it has since become (she had sung the Met premiere earlier the same season). From this unstaged performance of the "Mad Scene," Mapleson recorded two excerpts (the passage from the slow part of the scene--nearly inaudible--is on Side 12/Band 4).

Band 5

Act I, Scene 2: Verranno a te excerpt : "[i miei sospiri ar]denti" ... "su questo pegno allor, ah! su [quel pegno allor!]"

Nellie Melba (s), Lucia

Albert Saléza (t), Edgardo

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli

March 2, 1901

[Dated snake; Glackens 93 undated.]

Lucia of Lammermoor and Edgardo of Ravenswood are children of feuding Scottish families. Before he leaves for France, Edgardo gives Lucia a ring as token of his love. (If there is any doubt about the location from which

[Begin Page 35]
Mapleson made this recording, listen to the audible prompter during Saléza's verse of the duet! Although described as "hopelessly cracked" in the Glackens inventory, rubber bands and adhesive made possible a complete tape transfer in segments, subsequently edited together.)

[original]

LUCIA

[Verranno a te sull'aure
i miei sospiri ar] denti,
udrai nel mar che mormora,
l'eco de' miei lamenti.
Pensando ch'io di gemiti
mi pasco e di dolor,
spargi un' amara lagrima
su questo pegno allor,
ah! su questo pegno allor,
ah! su questo pegno allor,
ah! su quel pegno allor!

EDGARDO
Verranno a te sull'aure, ecc.

BOTH
Ah! Verranno a me sull'aure
i tuoi sospiri ar]denti,
udrò nel mar che mormora,
l'eco de' miei lamenti.

LUCIA
Pensando ch'io di gemiti
mi pasco e di dolor...

EDGARDO
Spargi un' amara lagrima...

BOTH
su questo pegno allor,
ah! su questo pegno allor,
ah! [su quel pegno allor!]

[translation]

LUCIA

On the breezes to you will fly
my ardent sighs and vows;
over the murmuring sea you'll hear
the echoes of my plaints.
As you think of me, nourished
by weeping and grief,
then spare a bitter tear
for this token of our love,
ah, for this token,
ah, for this token
ah, for this token!

EDGARDO
On the breezes to you will fly, etc.

BOTH
Ah! On the breezes to me will fly
your ardent sighs and vows,
over the murmuring sea I'll hear
the echoes of my plaints.

LUCIA
As you think of me, nourished
by weeping and grief...

EDGARDO
then spare a bitter tear...

BOTH
for this token,
ah, for this token,
ah, for this token!

Band 6

Act III, Scene 1: Mad Scene cabaletta excerpt : "Spargi d'amaro pianto" ... to end of scene

Nellie Melba (s), Lucia

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli

March 18, 1901

[Dated snake with Mapleson notation: "Connection imperfect hence faintness, otherwise lovely"; Glackens 113.]

Band 7

Act III, Scene 1: Mad Scene cabaletta excerpt : "[Spargi d'amaro] pianto" ... to end of scene

Nellie Melba (s), Lucia

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--Luigi

Mancinelli

March 2, 1901

[Snake: on container, Mapleson notation: "Mad scene slow," evidently referring to the very slow recording speed, not the tempo; Glackens 88.]

[These two cylinders cover the same ground, the cabaletta of Lucia's "Mad Scene"--a passage Melba did not record commercially. We have placed first the slightly clearer concert version, without chorus; this begins with the orchestral introduction. The second comes from the same staged performance of Lucia as the preceding duet, and begins right with Melba's first line. Curiously, although this passage is written out twice in the score--and, even on early recordings, is almost invariably sung twice, the second time with embellishments--it appears that Melba sang it only once through at these performances, and with hardly any embellishments (there is one quite spectacular flourish just before the coda). In both tracks, applause is clearly heard at the end.]

Led to believe that Edgardo is unfaithful, Lucia has agreed to a politically advantageous marriage, but when Edgardo breaks into the wedding festivities and denounces her, she loses her reason. On her wedding night, the demented girl has murdered her husband, and appears in the great hall of the castle, horrifying the wedding guests with her appearance and her hallucinations. This is the last part of Lucia's scena.

[original]

LUCIA

Spargi d'amaro pianto
il mio terrestre velo,
mentre lassù nel cielo
io pregherò, pregherò per te.
Al giunger tuo soltanto
fia bello il ciel per me!
Ah sì, ah sì, ah sì, per me,
fia bello il ciel, il ciel per me!
Ah sì, ah sì, ah sì, per me,
sì, per me, per me, per me, per me! Ah sì!
Ah sì, ah sì, per me, ah sì, ah sì!

CHORUS (in Band 7 only)
No, no, non è,
no, no, non è,
no, non è!

[translation]

LUCIA

Spread bitter tears
over my earthly remains,
while up there in heaven
I will pray, will pray for you.
Not until you join me
will heaven be beautiful for me!
Ah, yes, ah yes, ah yes, for me,
will heaven be beautiful for me!
Ah yes, ah yes, ah yes, for me,
yes, for me, for me, for me, for me! Ah yes!
Ah yes, ah yes, for me, ah yes, ah yes!

CHORUS (in Band 7 only)
No, no, it is not [possible
to restrain our tears!]


     Donizetti: LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT    Table of Contents      Mozart: IL FLAUTO MAGICO (Die Zauberflöte)