Involuntarily inappropriate libretto lines/lyrics, anyone?

Now don’t get me wrong – I do feel very deeply about the following songs and arias, but still, they can be overheard in a completely inappropriate way.

#1 Of course, Purcell’s “When I am laid … am laid ….” in earth. from “Dido and Aeneas.” I was so relieved when Stephen Fry and Tim Lihoreau mentioned the ambiguity of this line as well in their wonderful “Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music” – it comforted me, not only as I wasn’t the only one with a dirty mind, but also because for Fry/Lihoreau, perceiving the utter hilarity of the isolated “When  I am laid” is in no way detrimental to the very sincere love for the piece either.

when i am

Here the immortal piece is performed by the incomparable Jessye Norman:

#2 “[fa:k me] … cruce custodiri” from Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” (“Inflammatus et accensus”). (Often the “e” is tainted very lightly into the [i] direction, which makes the impression even more unavoidable for me.) Plus, the specific ‘fac me’ is set to music not only as a plea (the latin “fac me” means “make me” or “let me”), but as an enthusiastic exclamation.


Here the wonderful piece is performed by Céline Scheen and Damien Guilllon.

#3 Since recently, the first lines from “Pizzica di San Vito”, an Italian folk song.
“Non c’era da vinì, non c’era da vinì,
non c’era da vinì e so’ vinutu.”
(Word-for-word: “I shouldn’t have come, I shouldn’t have come, I shouldn’t have come, and (yet) I came.”) That it was the lover’s sighs which caused it as is clarified in the following lines is not actually a big help. (Of course, the intended meaning is closer to ‘I shouldn’t have gone there/come to you, but nevertheless, I did.)

In case you don’t know the song; here it is performed splendidly I find, by Spakka-Neapolis 55:

Please add to the list!


2 thoughts on “Involuntarily inappropriate libretto lines/lyrics, anyone?

    • Good one! From the Stabat Mater, another is “pro me pati” … the pati sounds as the Germans pronounce “Party”, and yet another is “… vixero,” which is quite close to the German word for wanking, but the resemblence is not compelling, so over 16 you tend to not find it just as funny anymore.

      Oh and to the “De poenis inferni” … For the Italian version of ‘poena’ and similar, Google Translate is totally on your side on this one. One of my favourite honorable translate attempts, “Ombra felice.” But that one isn’t funny as such when you hear it. No one is as dirty-minded as Google Translate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s