Ah! bello a me ritorna

Disclaimer: It has been noted and scientifically proven that most people aren’t able to spot irony. So, I’ll take the chance to say it before, before the flames set in. No, I don’t think that Mr. Jaroussky would or should sing Norma, or Adalgisa, in a regular performance. Just sayin’. I’d love to hear him actually sing the whole aria, though.


Ever since I found this, I cannot get the image out of my head — or rather out of my ears — how Jaroussky might sing, and act the cabaletta.

(In this marvellous Callas recording it is at about 8 min.)

Agreed, I do have my problems picturing Jaroussky as an aging druidess.

So, Jaroussky as Adalgisa maybe? And don’t tell me he is not that lush sort of belcanto-mezzo needed for Adalgisa, or even that he would have the wrong sex. Peter Pears sang “Il dolce suono.”

Pears was co-librettist for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and created one of his few comic roles in it. As Flute the bellows-mender, he performed a drag parody of Dame Joan Sutherland in the mad scene of Lucia di Lammermoor.
(source: Wikipedia)

Your argument is invalid.

With Jaroussky as Adalgisa, it would be highly understandable that Pollione was facing a tough decision.

(Lyrics can be found here, on the page of the always wonderful Beverly Sills.)

My favourite Norma — I have brooded about this for long. Usually I usually can come up with at least three favourites for almost every role, I just cannot tell. (Even though I always leave a blank spot in my mind for a singer I might not have heard yet who should be included in the favourites.)

So, Norma,… A voice that blends well with Jaroussky’s in their duets. Cecilia Bartoli sang the Casta Diva uniquely and spectacularly well once, so I think I’d cast her. It’s a close match though.

A big question — who’d be the lucky — well, temporarily lucky — Pollione? Frankly, I always pitied any tenor in the role — not because he has to die, I mean… as a tenor you’re bound to get used to it. But it is hard to even be noticed against the force of a good Norma/Adalgisa pairing. He should be sexy. I don’t mean physically so much, as vocally, which rules out some popular singers of nowadays.

Ah! Bello a me ritorna
(Cabaletta di “Casta Diva”)
Vincenco Bellini
libretto:  Felice Romani

Fine al rito. E il sacro bosco
sia disgombro dai profani.
Quando il nume irato e fosco
chiegga il sangue dei romani,
dal druidico delubro
la mia voce tuonerà.

Tuoni; e un sol del popolo empio
non isfugga al giusto scempio;
e primier da noi percosso
il proconsole cadrà.

Sì, cadrà… punirlo io posso.
(Ma punirlo il cor non sa.)
(Ah! bello a me ritorna
del fido amor primiero,
e contro il mondo intiero
difesa a te sarò.
Ah! bello a me ritorna
del raggio tuo sereno
e vita nel tuo seno
e patria e cielo avrò.)

Sei lento, sì, sei lento,
o giorno di vendetta,
ma irato il dio t’affretta
che il Tebro condannò!

Complete the rite : and the sacred wood
Be clear of the laity.
When the irate and gloomy God
Asks for the Roman’s blood
My voice will thunder
From the Druidic temple.
He will fall ; I can punish him
(But my heart is unable to do so).
(Ah! Return to me beautiful
In your first true love ;
I’ll protect you
Against the entire world.
Ah! Return to me beautiful
With your serene ray;
I’ll have life, sky
And homeland in your heart.
Ah, return again as you were then,
When I gave you my heart then,
Ah, come back to me.)


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